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Thread: The Lazy Commander's Guide to Surviving a Combat Zone in a Starfighter

  1. #1

    Smile The Lazy Commander's Guide to Surviving a Combat Zone in a Starfighter

    The Lazy Commander's Guide to Surviving a Combat Zone in a Starfighter

    I. Overview:
    Combat Zones are the home of front-line warships. CMDRs with deadly Vultures, Anacondas, Pythons, and FDLs bring the big guns to bear, and devastate everything in their path. In this maelstrom of laser blasts, cannonfire, and lighting-like rail-gun volleys, it seems like a poor place to be in a Viper, Cobra, or DBS; nevertheless there is good money to be made here for the savvy fighter pilot who keep their head and uses the fleet to their advantage. I enjoy the challenge of hunting in CZs in my DBS, and I am sure that I am not the only fighter pilot out there that enjoys the experience. This is also a valuable tool for quickly earning Merits for Power Play to achieve Rank 3 or 4 as a new-ish player who cannot afford a larger/better ship.

    II. Equipment.
    In order to survive these magnificent furballs in your humble starfighter You need a few tools:
    1. At least 2 Chaff launchers. Set both of these on the same trigger, and power one down for now. When one runs low/out and You have a lull in the action, power down the old and power up the new. The use of chaff will greatly increase your staying power.
    -When fired on by multiple ships at once, You are probably being shot at by turrets from several Pythons and/or Anacondas, as well as Starfighter-Sized threats: Pop Chaff.
    -When You're shields are on their last ring and You need a moment to manage Power and Pop a Shield bank: Pop Chaff.
    -When a large Ship with multiple gimballed/turret mounts singles You out: Pop Chaff.
    -When You are trying to make an emergency jump because your shields went down: Pop Chaff.
    -When in doubt: Pop Chaff!!!!
    2. At least 2 B-Rated Shield Banks of the largest size class You can carry. (B-Rated Shield Banks get one more shot than A-Rated ones, and will get the job done - You are going for staying power) Set both of these on the same trigger, and power one down for now. When one runs low/out and You have a lull in the action, power down the old and power up the new.
    -Pop a Shield bank whenever You find yourself at 1 of 3 rings on your shield display. Stay healthy my friends!
    3. A Fuels Scoop. (A Fuel Scoop!?) You will use this to sustain combat by allowing You to quickly re-fuel and re-engage between sorties without having to land. Again this is about staying power.
    -Stay topped off on multi-jump trips.
    -Refuel after each Emergency Jump.
    4. Gimballed Medium Pulse Lasers and a Kinetic Weapon of your choice. Keep them in separate firegroups.
    -target the Power Plant of every enemy that You target above the size of Condor and Eagle.
    -You will often kill a ship long before You deplete it's hull.
    -Medium Pulse Lasers have great sustained fire, great armor penetration, and do 100% damage vs. the hull of Small and medium ships, as well as all shields.
    -They do 70% damage vs. the hull of Large vessels such as a Python.
    -They do 40% Damage vs. the hull of Huge vessels such as the Anaconda.
    -A small kinetic weapon does 100% to a Small Hull (Eagle), 70% to a Medium Hull (Viper), 40% to a Large Hull (Python), and 10% to a Huge Hull (Anaconda) - So the choice of backup weapon is on You and up to your play style.
    -A Kinetic Weapon is good to have when You have drained your Medium Pulse Lasers, and want to continue to pour on the damage while they recover.
    (Personally: I use Enforcer Cannons as my small mounts to hit targets while they are popping chaff or for use when my Thermal Energy is recharging; there is no wrong answer)

    III. Plan your escape vector and Choose your side.
    1. As You enter the battlefield: Boost away from the middle of the battlfield at top speed, Pop Chaff, go to the Navigation Panel, scroll upward so that other solar systems are selected, and pick a random one before moving on. This is your emergency escape vector.
    2. PICK A SIDE: If You are in a Powerplay Conflict Zone (Such as a Military Strike or a Violent Protest) You will automatically be on your Power's side. In a normal CZ Choose the side that owns the nearest station, or the one that supports the major faction (Federation, Empire, etc) that You are trying to rank up in. Be careful that You don't make an enemy of the station You need to land at, or it will shoot You when You try to turn in your combat bonds. Go to your right window, and at the top of the Functions tab You will see FACTION. Select the one that You want.
    3. If there is a lull in the fighting, take a moment to select a specific system off the list where You know that a repair yard is near the star, and the star is scoopable. (No T-Tauri Stars for You!)
    4. This is again about survivability and combat sustainability. (See V below!)
    5. As a starfighter in a battlefield dominated by Light Cruisers (Anacondas) and Frigates (Pythons), You are crunchy, and good with ketchup. Always have a way out!

    IV. Your Pet Constrictor Snake.
    1. After You have selected your escape vector, go to your left panel, go to your contacts tab, and select a friendly Anaconda. (If no Anaconda, a Python will do)
    -This Ship is now your new best Friend.
    -Follow it at a distance of about 1 to 2 km, and don't get separated.
    2. You are now an escort craft for this ship, become it's shadow.
    -When your Friend fires it's forward armaments at something, it has designated a target for You. Select it.
    =Take a moment to select said target's Power Plant of of the Subsystems Tab of your left Window.
    -Shoot and Kill what it is shooting to take advantage do the larger ships damage output.
    -Wait until She shoots things before You shoot them. She is pulling aggro for You.
    -Do not be afraid to engage a Python or Anaconda that She is engaging. You will take some flak from the Frag Cannon Turrets, but as long as your shields are up these will not really harm You.
    -Shoot the Power Plant. Shoot the Power Plant. Shoot the Power Plant.
    3. As your Friend and You kill off the enemy, surviving friendlys will begin to follow You around, and soon You will be a part of a Happy little Fleet.
    -This is the sweet spot. Once a Fleet has formed around your Friend, you can shoot what the fleet is shooting at and quickly rack up kills. (I usually clock between 30 and 50 Kills an hour once this really gets rolling)
    4. There are occasions when the enemy's numbers are simply too overwhelming. Do not be afraid to leave and re-enter CZ. A new instance will form with new possibilities.
    5. ..or as Bieltan said:
    Originally Posted by Bieltan View Post (Source)
    Poor place for a Viper? Mine does just fine in Combat Zones. Its all about strength of the pack, 1v1s are usually a poor idea and only advisable when forced. Better to gang up on a target and free up friendly ships who can pile into another fight and free up another friendly ship who in turn piles into another fight and so on and so on until you and your allies have a stranglehold on the battlespace.

    All you have to be wary of now is where the next wave of enemy re-enforcements gets spawned, so you dont get hammered by multiple incoming ships and have to retreat.

    "...the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack..."
    V. When to run away. When jumping to another system YOU ARE NOT AFFECTED BY MASS-LOCK. You will be gone in 15 seconds. Thats why You pre-selected an escape vector!
    1. You should close your hard points and hit Y immediately if:
    -Your Shields go Down.
    -You find yourself alone and surrounded by enemies.
    -A CMDR in a bigger/better ship arrives on the other side. (You DO want to cash in those Combat Bonds, right?)
    -You run out of Chaff or Shield Banks.
    -You have any doubt in your mind where your safty and survival are concerned.
    2. Refuel and Re-engage.
    -Use your handy fuel scoop to top off before heading back to the CZ in the system that You just left.
    -Get back in there.
    3. The 30% rule: If You have taken more than 30% hull damage, do not re-engage. Go turn in your Combat Bonds/Merits, Repair your ship, THEN return and re-engage.

    Good Hunting CMDRs,
    Kaze Out.

  2. #2
    You forgot a very important one always fight for the side that owns the nearest station. Because it's embarrassing to rtb just to get killed by the station or defense force .

  3. #3
    Originally Posted by ahiredgun View Post (Source)
    You forgot a very important one always fight for the side that owns the nearest station. Because it's embarrassing to rtb just to get killed by the station or defense force .

    Ooh... that was an oversight! Thanks.
    EDIT: Corrected!

  4. #4
    Im 2 upgrades away from returning to CZs in my python...i miss my days in a Vulture devouring ships 3x its size! I actually didnt run SCBs in it and only had 1 chaff. My rule of thumb was when i was down to one ring of sheilds to fly 15-20kms away and wait for a full recharge. My hourly average was about 3mill+.

  5. #5
    Thats what i do. I have a vulture with A shields and 3 A boosters and a shield bank that I have to turn my guns off to use which I obviously do when I fly 15-20kms away. But there's a lot of good advice in this nice one kaze.+1

  6. #6
    + rep. Thanks for that! I had been running some LICZs, and having some trouble from time to time. This is a good guide.

  7. #7
    I used a Viper in combat zones to make enough credits for my Vulture. Use that Viper speed to get out of trouble, or separate the pack if multiple ships are shooting at you. One will frequently follow you away from the main furbal and leave the others behind, evening the odds nicely. If you're in anything smaller than a Vulture, I'd say never target a Python or an Anaconda unless you have friendlies already firing on it.
    Thanks for the post, Kaze; great advice there.
    Nova Fleet - Alliance Privateer, Bounty Hunter, and Abolitionist - Rebel Scum

    "Thanks again, Doc!"

  8. #8
    Poor place for a Viper? Mine does just fine in Combat Zones. Its all about strength of the pack, 1v1s are usually a poor idea and only advisable when forced. Better to gang up on a target and free up friendly ships who can pile into another fight and free up another friendly ship who in turn piles into another fight and so on and so on until you and your allies have a stranglehold on the battlespace.

    All you have to be wary of now is where the next wave of enemy re-enforcements gets spawned, so you dont get hammered by multiple incoming ships and have to retreat.

    "...the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack..."

  9. #9
    I take my anaconda into combat zones with turreted pulses set to fire at will. I make millions.

  10. #10
    Originally Posted by Bieltan View Post (Source)
    Poor place for a Viper? Mine does just fine in Combat Zones. Its all about strength of the pack, 1v1s are usually a poor idea and only advisable when forced. Better to gang up on a target and free up friendly ships who can pile into another fight and free up another friendly ship who in turn piles into another fight and so on and so on until you and your allies have a stranglehold on the battlespace.

    All you have to be wary of now is where the next wave of enemy re-enforcements gets spawned, so you dont get hammered by multiple incoming ships and have to retreat.

    "...the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack..."
    I am going to quote You on that.

  11. #11
    Great post! We should all get together and put together a full on single post thread for introduction of the basics of the game for new players on xbox one, ive seen messages and helped a few people who didn't even know that you can access functions with the D pad! I think its because there really isn't any dedicated basics page other than the posts for xb1.

    I think it should include basics of control, smuggling to trading to make money to learn combat, combat (as you just posted), and a few other things.

    What do you think?

    - - - Updated - - -

    And if they are new, they should begin in low intensity combat zones that are close to a starport.

  12. #12
    Originally Posted by SYSOPKC View Post (Source)
    Great post! We should all get together and put together a full on single post thread for introduction of the basics of the game for new players on xbox one, ive seen messages and helped a few people who didn't even know that you can access functions with the D pad! I think its because there really isn't any dedicated basics page other than the posts for xb1.

    I think it should include basics of control, smuggling to trading to make money to learn combat, combat (as you just posted), and a few other things.

    What do you think?

    - - - Updated - - -

    And if they are new, they should begin in low intensity combat zones that are close to a starport.
    Good thoughts. I think a community Orientation Thread is a fantastic Idea.

  13. #13
    I just started with CZ's this past weekend, but I found that a decent way to start the CZ is hit reverse right when you shift to normal space. Reverse about 5km or so then come to a stop to select your faction. That gives you time to survey the CZ and doesn't cost you one of your chaff. Until you select the side you want to fight for, you are just a spectator in the coliseum and nobody bothers you.


    I was rather surprised with the income from CZ... went from a barely combat capable cobra to a vulture in a few hours time. Vulture is not fully kitted yet, but I can hang out in the HICZ for long enough that I want to take a break to stretch my legs far before my ship needs repair.

  14. #14
    Most of the time when I enter CZ's nobody is firing at one another if I wait long enough will somebody eventually fire at somebody? Im new to this game, ive been playing for about a week now. Its really complicated sometimes in the cz's when I fire at someone I almost instantly die. I stay far back as possible in my viper. Having chaff is a really good benefit for that though.

  15. #15
    A bit late, but this is a great post Kaze. Well done!

    I'd give you +2 if I could for the crunchy and taste good with ketchup bit.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Loko- it sounds like you entered a glitched Conflict Zone.

    Remember, you have to pick a side in the functions panel, on your right hand side (accessed either by freelooking in that direction by clicking the right stick, or by holding X+right on the D pad). If you don't pick a side, you won't be awarded combat bonds for your kills. My advice for this would be to pick your side a safe distance away from the main scuffle. If there are flashing lights and flying ships in easy view, you're probably a little too close. If you see more red contacts than green on your sensors once you do pick a side, then my advice would be to jump to supercruise, then jump back into the combat zone to re-instance it. Being overwhelmed is nobodies idea of fun.

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