Sharoma Frontierverse Guides Combat Commander Eardley's combat tips

Commander Eardley's combat tips

Greetings Commander,
Congratulations on the excellent website. What a wonderful resource for Federation & Empire pilots. Which is why I was surprised that nowhere does it list the following tactics which work best with an Asp Explorer fitted with 3 or 4 shields, a radar mapper, a 1MW beam laser & laser cooling booster:

Alternative combat tactics using manual control

The tactics you suggest are very good, indeed they are the ones I used to use until I discovered the following time saving method:

  1. A soon as you get the attack warning knock off the auto pilot and switch to manual control (NOT engines off) There is no need to pause the game or radar map the opponent.
  2. Hit the enter key for a couple of seconds to ensure that your main thrusters are at full power. With your ship accelerating at 26g (remember this is an Asp) your opponent will find it impossible to hit you as they fire at where you are, not where you are going...
  3. Keep your laser on permanently (a 1 meg beam laser will not overheat if a laser cooling booster is fitted)
  4. Dog fight your opponent until victory is yours. The only way he will damage you seriously is if he crashes into you-so avoid running directly at him when you are close. 3 shields will restrict the damage sufficiently if he uses an energy bomb or gets a lucky shot on you. If you fly skilfully you should be able to avoid all his shots
  5. After your enemy's demise simply switch back to auto pilot to resume your journey. You do not have to reselect your original target as you never deselected it, so saving time. You will still get the bounty, if there is one, provided you have a radar mapper fitted, you do not have to waste time radar mapping the target.

Advantages of this method:

  1. Saves time: as you don't pause the game or deselect & reselect targets. Also because you don't pause the game no-one can accuse you of cheating.
  2. Very safe: opponents find it impossible to hit you.
  3. Works for assassination missions too: even with a tiny 1 MW laser you can kill the biggest ships using this method which is tremendous fun as it takes time and skill. When tackling Panthers and other huge ships I prefer to radar map them just so I can see how well I'm doing during the battle.

Using main thrusters for deceleration

Again this tactic works best with ships that have a high main thruster acceleration - Asps and Falcons in particular. It does require a bit of practice but the results are very rewarding. There are two uses for it:

1) Travelling faster in order to complete deliveries on time

Suppose you have just arrived in a system via hyperspace and have selected your final destination, which is for arguments sake, say, 12.046 AU distant. The idea is to use your main thrusters to accelerate half this distance then flip the ship over by 180 degrees at the half way mark (6.023 AU) and continue to use the main thrusters to decelerate until you arrive near your destination. Then auto pilot in. Here is an example:

  1. Arrive in the system and select your destination in the usual way.
  2. Calculate the half way point (divide the distance by two) in this example 12.046 divided by two = 6.023.
  3. Make a note of the halfway point! This is very important. I prefer to do the division on a calculator and leave it switched on so the figure remains on the display, pen & paper works fine too
  4. Initially use auto pilot to keep your heading accurate.
  5. Change to manual control after completing about one third of the journey or immediately that you hear the main thrusters reduce power. Hit the enter key to force your ship to continue accelerating up to the half way point. It is important to accelerate at full power all the way to the half way point.
  6. At EXACTLY the halfway point flip your ship over and select the rear view. Line up on your target as accurately as you can (this is the bit that requires practice)
  7. Because you are not using the auto pilot, you will not fly exactly at your target but you will arrive very close to it. Use your skill and judgement to decide when to reselect auto pilot to complete the final short stage of the journey, which with practice, will be under 0.1 AU

In an Asp the journey from Facece to Vequess takes about a week. This method allows you to do it in 6 days thus enabling you to accomplish delivery missions that are otherwise impossible. My record is 12 missions in one trip which gave me 2 promotions in one go.

2) Avoiding combat with big ships - the 'J' manoeuvre

Essentially this involves flying your ship at full main thruster power, as described above, so that you can outrun anything that is following you. Remember once again this tactic only works with ships that have a big main thruster acceleration.

If you fly straight towards your destination target the enemy ships will catch up with you after you have flipped your ship over and you will get an attack warning as they go whizzing past you with there puny thrusters trying to slow themselves down to your speed. They will not even be able to aim at you. Don't forget to wave as they pass by!

If you don't want to see them at all (except on the system map) fly a J - shaped path into your final destination by targeting any planet on the far side of the star in the system you have arrived at. Accelerate towards it as described above but this time when you reach the half way point target your final destination. Now your ship's path will curve round to your final destination whilst your enemies will go flying out of the far side of the system, as a peek at the system map will confirm. Very satisfying.

Using this method in a Falcon (30g main thruster acceleration) will allow you to avoid EVERY other ship EVERY time. Very useful in such a small vessel.You can also use it in an Asp to avoid combat with bigger ships, although there is no need to if you use the combat tactics described at the start of this missive.In conclusion I would say that all these tactics depend on choosing a ship with high main thruster acceleration and further to that the best all-round performer is easily the Asp explorer.

Best Regards
Commander Eardley