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Despon's Guide to Killing Gunships

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Galactic Starfighter
Despon's Guide to Killing Gunships

caederon's Avatar


caederon
01.27.2016 , 04:13 PM | #1
So, you want to kill gunships. Oh boy, who doesn't? Can't live with em, can't live without em. OR COULD YOU? Probably not, as long as bombers are still around. What to do, then... what to do?

Killing gunships is the ultimate nerf! When they're dead, they can't shoot you or your team. Even better, when they're running around, or tied up with a melee fight, they STILL can't help their team a whole lot. Here is a guide to help you deal with that OP battle beast, the gunship.

1. Know Your Enemy

It should not take you long to figure out who the threats are in a given match. Look at the opposing team in the pre-flight minute. If you recognize a tough gunship pilot, call it out to your teammates. Let them know someone, let's call him 'Bespon,' is probably going to go for the Damage Overcharges in TDM, and will likely be blowing you up unless someone does something about it.

"But," you protest, "I'm new and don't know who these people are!" Try asking your teammates. Failing that, assume that any gunship pilot is a threat, because they are. That said, inexperienced gunship pilots are easy to deal with. They make a lot of common mistakes, which I'll get into later.

Look at which gunships the opposing pilots have selected.

If they have picked the Quarrel/Mangler (or the Cartel variant that looks like a flying V), aka the T1 gunship, you can expect that they will be dousing your team with Ion Railgun bursts. They may be using Feedback Shield, which you must be aware of when you're engaging them with lasers. They will primarily be looking to support their team's attacks and will often focus on breaking up your team's bomber incursons.

If they have picked a Comet Breaker/Dustmaker (or the Cartel equivalent that looks like a Winnebago with garbage cans attached to it), aka the T2 gunship, they are almost always less of a threat than those who have picked the other types. They are incapable of dealing with enemies at close range, and often choose Fortress Shield, which renders them immobile and is basically a death sentence when facing pilots who know what they're doing. They lack ion railgun, so are less of a threat to your team's bombers.

If they have picked a Condor/Jurgoran, aka the T3 gunship, they are going to be mobile and quite capable of short range combat. They lack Ion Railgun, so they are less of a threat to your bombers and defensive zones than the T1 gs. They make up for this by being very efficient hunters and by being difficult to kill.

By knowing your enemy, you can decide on the best approach for dealing with them.

2. Fly Smart

It's easy to assume that gunships are invulnerable death machines when you eat railgun shots and die before you even reach the action. Your goal, then, is to make it difficult for the enemy gunships to hit you before you get into weapons range. I'm going to put this next point in caps and might even bold it because it is really, really important.

DO NOT FLY STRAIGHT AT GUNSHIPS AND EXPECT TO LIVE.

If you grit your teeth and fly with resolute determination in a straight line at that gunship, chances are they will blow you up while shaking their head in disapproval at how easy you just made it for them. At least, I hear that jerk Bespon does it all the time.

Use terrain obstacles to prevent gunships from getting line-of-sight on you. There are lots of opportunities on every map to make your approach under cover. If you find yourself in the open, weave and use your defensive Systems or Copilot abilities if you have any.

Try approaching enemy gunships from above or below, or fly past them and get behind them before you open fire. This will force them to turn, move, or run to deal with your attack. Getting them out of their comfort zone makes them an easier kill. Forcing them to deal with you keeps them from sniping enemies at long range.

3. Load up on Evasion

Your ship's Evasion stat is the hard counter to railguns. Gunships rely on the Accuracy stat to reliably land their railgun shots. Even a perfectly aimed rail shot will be dodged if the target's Evasion is high enough and the random to-hit roll is in their target's favor. It is not uncommon for a scout with high Evasion to dodge five or six shots in a row purely based on their build's focus on that stat. Targeting Telemtry, Distortion Field, and Running Interference are all commonly used to boost Evasion.

4. Open Fire

Know your weapons' ideal ranges. When you are at that sweet spot, open up with everything you've got. You want to do as much damage in as short a window of time as is possible when facing gunships (and, indeed, pretty much all other ship types as well). Save your offensive abilities until you're just about to open fire.

Be aware of Feedback Shield. If you are hitting the enemy gunship with your lasers and suddenly blow up or take a lot of damage when it doesn't seem they are even shooting at you (or facing you), they are running Feedback Shield. Secondary weapons do not trigger Feedback shield, so missiles, rockets and railguns are always safe to use against a gunship. Wait for the glowy shield aura to disappear from around the enemy gunship before you resume your primary weapon attack. Sometimes, if you have enough health, you can absorb one Feedback burst, but if the gunship draws you into a protracted melee fight, they may live long enough for the cooldown to expire and will trigger it again.

5. Don't Overpursue

If a gunship is determined to run from a close-quarters engagement, let them. There are likely other threats to deal with closer to your objectives. If the gunship is running, it is not shooting, which is a victory for your team. If the gunship activates their defensive abilities (usually Distortion Field, sometimes with Running Interference) and uses their engine maneuver to bail out on an engagement, don't chase them. Watch your back when returning to allied territory, but as long as you're keeping the gunship from lining up their railgun shots, you are helping your team. Be aware that they may return, but it will take them a moment to get back into the action.

6. Use Teamwork

It will become apparent eventually who the really troublesome gunship pilots are. If their name keeps showing up on your screen in red, "Bespon killed ______" over and over, it may require the focus of more than one pilot to deal with them.

It is extremely difficult for any gunship to deal with two attackers at once. Even very skilled gunship pilots will find it both distracting and hard to handle a pair of determined attackers.

Even in situations where the enemy team is fielding many gunships, there is often a large skill gap between their pilots. If you can correctly identify the gunship that is likely to cause you the most trouble and double or triple-team them, the rest of your teammates can work on the easier targets.

7. Identify Inexperienced Gunships

Stock gunships are very easy to destroy before they are equipped with proper defensive components. Even experienced pilots will have trouble remaining alive under fire in an unupgraded gunship that lacks maneuverability and shield strength.

You can often identify an inexperienced gunship pilot by watching for whether they remain focused on powering up a railgun shot while they are under direct fire. If they seem unaware of their shields falling while they are scoped in, use that knowledge to alter their standing on your threat assessment.

Any gunship using Fortress Shield is easier to deal with than one which does not. At first, it may seem like the greatly increased shield strength is a significant advantage, but immobility is a heavy price to pay for extra shields. Most gunship pilots will realize this fairly early on and switch to a build that doesn't root them in place. If you find yourself up against a gunship using Fortress Shield, it is likely they are inexperienced and can be dealt with accordingly.

Determine which laser the enemy gunship uses when in close combat. Burst Laser Cannon has a distinctive sound and appearance, and is very dangerous at melee range. If the enemy gunship is not using BLC (or in the case of the T2 gunship, does not have the option), stay at close range until they either die or run. It is likely that gunships not fielding BLC are being flown by inexperienced pilots.

8. Recognize Inevitability

Sometimes, you are put on a bad team. If you are being picked apart by enemy gunships, and your team seems to have no answer, it is not because gunships are OP. It is because your team doesn't have the knowledge and skill to deal with them, and lacks the fluidity to adapt their tactics to adjust for the situation.

Conclusion

The preceding information on how to deal with gunships only covers the basics. There are more advanced techniques and strategies to learn, but if you internalize the information in this guide, you'll be on your way to helping your team and making yourself a better pilot.

Despon

*for those new to GSF, check out Despon's Guide to GSF for Total Beginners

RickDagles's Avatar


RickDagles
01.27.2016 , 04:31 PM | #2
Nice guide. I'd add a few things:

1. Before you make your attack run on a gunship, sit in a safe spot and regain 100% engines. I would recommend sitting behind a rock (LoS) about 10000-15000m away from the gunship of interest. Once you have all of your engines and cooldowns ready, then make your attack run. One of the biggest mistakes that scout players do is try to make an attack run when they only have 50% engines. Then they complain about OP ion when the first hit completely shuts them down. Even AoE splash damage can end your day if you aren't smart with your engines.

2. Try to attack gunships from behind whenever possible. This is important for three reasons: A - they may not see you coming. B - if they run after you hit them with your initial shots, you can usually get 1 or 2 more shots in before they get out of range; if you had been shooting them from the front or side then you won't be able to get any extra shots in once they decide to flee. C - if they do see you coming, they at least have to turn around to shoot you. This leave them open to railgun shots from your own encroaching teammates.

3. Before shooting a gunship, check your HUD to see what buffs/debuffs he currently has. If the player is using feedback shield, you want to hit F2 before shooting your first shot. This absorbs most of the damage, and then you can switch to F1 (note: you must have nearly full health for F2 to work like this so don't attempt this if you've already been shot once - in that case just shoot clusters or rocket pods).

4. Before making your attack run, do a scan for enemy railgun drones and seeker mines. If necessary, save your distortion field missile break to deal with one of the seeker mines. Don't linger in the danger area for too long. I usually bail as soon as my running interference is about to end. Don't try to be a hero, just play distraction long enough for your gunship buddies to create havoc, then return to your repair drone and plan your next attack run.

Quote: Originally Posted by caederon View Post
Determine which laser the enemy gunship uses when in close combat. Burst Laser Cannon has a distinctive sound and appearance, and is very dangerous at melee range. If the enemy gunship is not using BLC (or in the case of the T2 gunship, does not have the option), stay at close range until they either die or run. It is likely that gunships not fielding BLC are being flown by inexperienced pilots.
5. This is definitely true except for one rare exception - the Condor/Jurgoran regular laser/retro/cluster build. While it is good to stay close to this build, make sure you are ready to hit the engines hard as soon as you see this ship use retro. Obviously try to fly the most perpendicular path in reference to the enemy Condor/Jurgoran.

Archonitek's Avatar


Archonitek
01.27.2016 , 06:22 PM | #3
When you select a target you can tell if it is facing towards or away from you based on the target portrait.
Eclipse Squadron - Cedwic/Eclipse-seven - Pilot - The Ebon Hawk
Nova Squadron - Zemelda - Lieutenant - The Ebon Hawk
Red Squadron - Teerayne - Senior Spaceman - The Harbinger

DakhathKilrathi's Avatar


DakhathKilrathi
01.27.2016 , 07:23 PM | #4
Solid advice here. The only thing I would add is maybe more emphasis on keeping damage overcharge away from enemy gunships.

Also, don't charge a gunship wall solo. If five gunships all shoot at one target, at least one of them is probably going to land a shot. Teamwork matters!

ALaggyGrunt's Avatar


ALaggyGrunt
01.27.2016 , 08:16 PM | #5
Guns before missiles if you're going for the kill. Missiles make an annoying beeping sound, so they'll know you're there if they've got sound.
Guns... don't. If you start locking a missile before trying to actually kill a gunship, it will know there's a threat.

If you just want it to run, a missile lock will usually get the point across.

Distortion field is broken-good. Once I chased a double-lock-break gunship with a Pike. Lock a missile, it barrel rolls. Lock another missile, it pops distortion field and starts turning around (it didn't go for cover). And lock a protorp, pop wingman, set directionals back (ion rail), hit it... close, shields double-front (slug). I got it, but was dead in the water immediately after.

If there's one with good situational awareness (some of them are nearly impossible to sneak up on), attack from directly above or below relative to the map. The red arrow which represents your ship will be less obvious.

LordByrondathird's Avatar


LordByrondathird
01.28.2016 , 01:32 AM | #6
Quote: Originally Posted by caederon View Post
(or the Cartel equivalent that looks like a Winnebago with garbage cans attached to it)[/URL]
I died laughing.

The rest was a good read, thanks for this!
Enerik, Jedi Sage Cynroll, Imperial Sniper
Gavilin, Gunslinger Xaem, Republic Vanguard
Rastakon, Sith Sorcerer
I regret my display name too.

phalczen's Avatar


phalczen
01.28.2016 , 09:50 AM | #7
Quote: Originally Posted by caederon View Post
Determine which laser the enemy gunship uses when in close combat. Burst Laser Cannon has a distinctive sound and appearance, and is very dangerous at melee range. If the enemy gunship is not using BLC (or in the case of the T2 gunship, does not have the option), stay at close range until they either die or run. It is likely that gunships not fielding BLC are being flown by inexperienced pilots.
Or experienced pilots on new characters or on stock nights. Just sayin'. In addition to the T3 gunship possibility that someone mentioned above.

Ardaneb's Avatar


Ardaneb
01.28.2016 , 04:19 PM | #8
I like this advice, though I would recommend beginners consider specific tactics for domination matches:
1. If a gunship is threatening the satellite you can always move to the other side of the satellite. This is very frustrating to solo gunships without good bomber/scout support and they will often come to you. Most opponents are not coordinated enough to get both sides of the node covered efficiently. If you are the only one on your team under the satellite, make sure you do not leave it to chase gunships if there is an opponent on or next to the satellite.
2. If you are on the satellite, you will not have the luxury of flanking a gunship unseen. However, you can still use a scout to get the advantage on them by moving out with an evasion cooldown (running interference, distortion field), flying a little to the side or top/bottom (pick a spot roughly 4000m to the edge of the gunship).
3. If the gunship retreats, go back to the satellite or engage a second gunship. Some of the best gunships really protect their K/D ratio. This is easy to diagnose and exploit if you are thinking about it. They will yo-yo the whole game.
4. If the gunship(s) get run all over the place, allowing your team to solidify the satellite, it does not really matter if you die. It is a trivial point and the respawn is usually quick. (exception: Denon with no friendly hyperspace beacon).
5. Gunships on the satellite are more of a bomber problem than a gunship problem. If they are there by themselves, dive to the other side of the satellite and then chase them down. Watch out for the sudden stop they can do that you cannot do.
Paloga/Lantor

DorjeeVajra's Avatar


DorjeeVajra
01.28.2016 , 08:48 PM | #9
I came across this on Reddit /r/rswtor thanks so much for this and contributing to the community.

I haven't really done too much star fighting yet and the few times i did a didn't do so great

I'l refer to this when i get to that part of the game.

I will add it to the Space Combat - Guide Links page of SWTORCGR 4.0.

If you write more guides in the future or have some I might have missed please leave a link at:
SWTOR Community Guides and Resources - SWTORCGR : Great for New players and Veterans.

I would then add the link to the collection or you could post a link directly on the appropriate spreadsheets at SWTORCGR 4.0.

Thanks for your contribution

*****

Made a new category page on Space Combat for your guide if you know of any other current Space Combat guides please let me know.

caederon's Avatar


caederon
01.28.2016 , 10:32 PM | #10
Quote: Originally Posted by DorjeeVajra View Post
If you write more guides in the future or have some I might have missed please leave a link at:
SWTOR Community Guides and Resources - SWTORCGR : Great for New players and Veterans.
*****
Made a new category page on Space Combat for your guide if you know of any other current Space Combat guides please let me know.
Thanks for dropping in! I actually do have another guide you might benefit from:

Despon's Guide to GSF for Total Beginners

... and thanks to Sriia for posting on Reddit! She actually wrote a pretty great beginner's guide, too:

Tips For Newer GSF Players


... and thanks to the rest of you for contributing more great info on gunship hunting tactics! I'll integrate what I can into the main post, though my instructions were meant more as a basic overview and people can certainly scan down the thread to dig into the more advanced info you present.

Now go kill some gunships!

... but not mine. The rest of them, though. Get em!

Despon