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Despon's Guide to GSF for Total Beginners

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Galactic Starfighter
Despon's Guide to GSF for Total Beginners

caederon's Avatar


caederon
06.11.2015 , 01:05 PM | #1
So, you’ve decided to play Galactic Starfighter! Good choice. Before you get frustrated into a frenzy, ragequit from a match, and troll this forum, read this guide. Perhaps it will give you some insight, some clarity, and allow you a measure of respite from the seething demons within.

Even if you don’t consider yourself a total beginner, you might gain some perspective from these collected thoughts, so at least skim the headings.

Play the tutorial... then do it again!

It's not a great tutorial. The presentation is choppy and annoying. We know, we have tried to get them to make a better one. But for now, it's what there is. So play it through and pay attention to what it's teaching you. Then do it again, but the second time, don't go capture A right away. Fly around the map. Practice boosting. Try out your Engine Ability (mapped to 3 by default). Try using only missiles when killing the drones. Target one, hold down your right mouse button, and release when you get a lock. Repeat. You are invulnerable to damage during the tutorial, so you can practice flying around the various obstacles until you're comfortable with the way the controls handle. Then seek out an actual match.

Do Not Act Alone

The number one mistake new pilots make is acting alone.

Perhaps you think GSF is like a singleplayer game where you are able to take on the enemy fleet all by yourself because you are the hero. In GSF, you are not the hero. You are part of a team of pilots who have one of two goals: Be the first team to amass 50 kills (in TDM) or be the first team to earn 1000 points (in Domination).

Imagine that instead of being a wandering mosquito, alone and easily swatted dead, that you are a killer-bee… part of a deadly swarm. Even when individual bees are killed, it is very hard to deal with a whole swarm all at once.

Be part of the crowd. You are helping your team just by being around them, particularly if you are landing some shots or are offering support abilities like healing or ammo replenishment. You are helping just by being close to a satellite your team wants to control. Evading enemy fire while flying around a satellite your team controls is a valuable contribution to your team’s success!

Use your minimap. Look for where your team is (the green dots). Head there.

Hit F3 at the start of the match

… and hold the spacebar down to engage your Engine Boost. F3 diverts power to your engines, making you faster and regenerating your engine pool more quickly. It also diverts power away from your shields and weapons, but you can deal with that later. Particularly in Domination matches (the ones with the A B C satellites), you need to get where you are going. So hit F3, and boost to your destination along with your team.

If the whole concept of Power Management is too much to deal with right now, just hit F4 once you get where you’re going and concentrate on fighting. Later on, you can learn to juggle your power balance with F1 (+weapon, - shield & engine), F2 (+shield, -weapon & engine) and the aforementioned F3. F4 evens everything out to a balanced levels.

Do not fly slow and straight when you are being shot

If you are taking damage, your shields are depleting, your screen is flashing red, and your copilot is yelling about your inevitable embrace of mortality, here is what to do: move. Juke around, use your engine ability (mapped to 3 by default), turn, twist, head for cover... make it hard for your opponent to kill you by being a mobile target. You may still get killed, but at least you made it a challenge. And you might just convince your opponent to go after an easier target.

Also keep in mind that until you have more experience, 'jousting' will get you killed. Don't do it. You will be tempted to fly straight at your enemy, guns blazing, missiles locking, rockets firing... but you'll likely get blown up.

Getting blown up is not the end of the world.

You’re going to get blown up. A lot. This is less a consequence of having unupgraded ships and more a function of your position as someone who is learning what works and what doesn’t work in GSF. Happily, by playing many matches you will increase both your knowledge and the pool of requisition you can use to upgrade your ships.

Also worth noting is the curious fact that even the best pilots still get blown up a lot, depending on their chosen ship, the conditions in a particular match, the skill of their opposition, and the experience level of the team they are placed into.

Do not worry about kills

Assists are just as valuable, both in their contribution to the success of your team in a match and to your personal requisition gains. There is no kill-stealing. Focus your efforts on landing some shots and then get out of danger. Find a target that someone else is engaged with, and attack it. Your combined efforts will have a better chance of bringing it down. Kills will come eventually, as you gain more skill in hitting your targets with lasers (or railguns) and locking missiles.

Do worry about Damage and Hit %

These are the stats on the post-match scoreboard that, in most cases, will reflect your overall contribution to a match more than any others. There are exceptions, but in general they are good benchmarks to use in evaluating your performance.

Challenge yourself to do at least 10,000 damage every match, and to fire your lasers / railguns at a 30% success rate. [note: it's been suggested 30% is too high an initial goal to set. If you're really struggling, try for at least 15%] These are just the beginning, but if you are not achieving that, you will know it is an area you must improve on. When you pass those marks, add 10k damage and 5 percent Hit % to your goal!

If your Hit % is in the single digits, ask yourself if you are engaging your enemy at the proper range for the type of lasers you have selected. If you did not know your lasers have a range associated with their effectiveness, you have some learning to do.

Not every shot you miss is due to bad aim

Distance to target and your target's ship type, crew, and components can all cause you to miss an otherwise centered shot that seems like it should be a hit.

Each laser has a range, and within that weapon's range is a 'sweet spot' where it achieves its greatest chance to hit. Generally, if a target is at the extreme far end of the weapon's range, you will land fewer shots, and if a target is closer than 500m, the game is inaccurate at determining hits and misses and you will miss a lot.

To learn more about each weapon's ideal range and accuracy at all ranges, go to Preferences -> Starfighter -> Tooltips and enable the 'Turn On Detailed Starfighter Weapon Tooltips' option, which shows you a good bit more info about the range and performance of your weapons when you hover their icon in the Components tab of the hangar.

You will also miss a well-aimed laser, railgun, or rocket shot if you fail a check against the target's Evasion statistic. Evasion is a statistical abstraction representing how hard a ship is to hit. Scouts, particularly, begin with high base Evasion and have various active and passive abilities that can grant them even more, causing even perfectly aimed shots to miss. Strike Fighters and Gunships have less Evasion and Bombers have the least.

Evasion is countered by bonuses to your Accuracy.

Use the Wingman co-pilot active skill

Wingman adds +20% to your Accuracy while it is active. This is a lot. It will help you land shots more often with your lasers and railguns. This is a good thing. Imperial pilots have access to this by default (on Salana Rok), while Republic pilots will have to acquire either Akaavi Spar or Lieutenant Iresso to gain access.

Use the +6% Accuracy passive skill

This time, the Republic pilots have the initial advantage, as B-3G9 comes equipped with the +6% Accuracy passive. Imperials have several offensive crewmen to choose from who grant this passive. Acquire one at your earliest convenience. Their secondary passive is of less consequence at the moment, but is something you will want to more carefully consider as you advance in skill and efficacy.

Buy a bomber and a gunship

Use the initial 5000 fleet requisition granted as a quest reward from the intro quest to purchase the Type 1 Bomber (Imp: Razorwire, Pub: Rampart) for 2500 req and the Type 1 Gunship (Imp: Mangler, Pub: Quarrel). If you are a subscriber, or by some other means are granted the Type 1 Gunship with your initial ships, then save up and make your next purchase the Type 2 Scout (Imp: Sting, Pub: Flashfire).

The bomber and gunship will allow you to experience different playstyles so you can find one that suits you the most. The T2 scout is the dominant offensive force in the current meta, so you’ll want that in your hangar, too.

Learn More

It is fortunate for you, the novice, that GSF has been around long enough for there to be a wealth of accumulated knowledge for you to draw upon in an effort to better yourself. This forum is full of it. Seek and ye shall find. Read the stickied Stasie’s Galactic Starfighter Guide. Look for Drakolich’s Twitch stream and videos.

Join the GSF chat channel with the command /cjoin GSF in your chat panel. Some servers also use ‘pilot’ as the channel name, but mostly it is GSF. Talk to pilots in that channel. Ask for advice, discuss ship builds, benefit from mutual experience, be open to suggestion.

Ask the pilots that top the leaderboard for advice. Most are very friendly and will help you to improve and give you valuable tips!

There is plenty more to say about GSF, but this was intended for the beginner-est of beginners, to get you on the right road to contributing and enjoying the game.

Despon

Gerfaut's Avatar


Gerfaut
06.11.2015 , 04:57 PM | #2
Great post overall. The only thing I don't agree with is the following:

Quote: Originally Posted by caederon View Post
Challenge yourself to do at least 10,000 damage every match, and to fire your lasers / railguns at a 30% success rate. These are just the beginning, but if you are not achieving that, you will know it is an area you must improve on. When you pass those marks, add 10k damage and 5% accuracy to your goal!
I went back and looked at screenshots I took during my first few months of play, and 30% hit rate as a starting goal seems MUCH too high. For my first month of play, my accuracy was usually around 15-20% (25% in my best games towards the end of the month), while my damage done was in the 20k-30k range. It wasn't until 6-7 weeks into the game that I started getting hit rates of 30%, with a damage done of 40-50k. I was playing GSF every night, on multiple toons, solo and in premades, and these were my best games, those I thought worthy of a screenshot.

I don't have any screenshots of my first 5 days of play, but I remember having a hard time breaking 10% hit rate at first. For a brand new player, I think a goal of 10k damage with a 10% hit rate is a lot more realistic, then move on to 20k damage with a 15% hit rate, 30k damage with a 20% hit rate, and so on. It took me several hundred games to reach 30% accuracy.

This is from the perspective of a player who only plays MMOs, which means that before GSF I had exactly zero experience at having to keep my cursor on a moving target in order to hit it. This was the hardest thing for me to get used to in GSF. Players with prior experience in flight combat games may be able to achieve higher accuracy a lot faster.

Camelpockets's Avatar


Camelpockets
06.11.2015 , 06:12 PM | #3
You still flyin Despon?

Dayum.
"We have winnowed all futures. The cull endures. It is optimal. It is necessary." - Shiva
Camels the Revanchist
The Pockets Legacy - Begeren Colony & Shadowlands

caederon's Avatar


caederon
06.11.2015 , 06:13 PM | #4
Quote: Originally Posted by Gerfaut View Post
Players with prior experience in flight combat games may be able to achieve higher accuracy a lot faster.
You make a fair point, prior space combat game experience (or to a lesser degree actual flight sims) does make a difference in adapting to GSF. I've been playing space sims since the Commodore=64 was a top of the line gaming rig. I can't really speak from the perspective of someone who has never touched a game like that.

I still feel like low accuracy (like, single digit low) is a result in many cases of not understanding the range of the weapon being fired. It's just a guess based on observation. It doesn't help that Rapid-Fire and Light Laser are default starter weapons and are really hard to land hits with right out of the box. You have to be very close, and if you're really close, you have to keep up with the maneuvers of the target. And you're probably also being blown up at the time.

Using the Heavy Laser Cannon on your starter strike fighter can, and should, yield better results.

Then there's the Evasion mechanic, which I should probably at least mention up there... I'll amend it in a moment.

I picked 30% kind of arbitrarily, but the number was stated more as a goal than as something you should be expected to achieve right off. I could see suggesting 15% as an opening goal, though. Maybe 30% is too ambitious.

- Despon

Nemarus's Avatar


Nemarus
06.11.2015 , 06:20 PM | #5
Don't forget to tell people to turn on full weapon tooltips. Otherwise half the most important mechanics are hidden.
Shayd / Callem / RK-4X / "Trynt" - Leader of <Eclipse Squadron>, The Ebon Hawk
http://EclipseSquadron.enjin.com Imperial GSF-focused guild

"Serve the Emperor above all others."

caederon's Avatar


caederon
06.12.2015 , 01:40 PM | #6
Quote: Originally Posted by Nemarus View Post
Don't forget to tell people to turn on full weapon tooltips. Otherwise half the most important mechanics are hidden.
I looked to see if this was 'off' by default, and it seemed to be 'on' by default on all my characters. Are selections on the Preferences menu account-wide? I don't remember ever specifically turning it on, but I certainly could have.

Anyway, if it is indeed off, then going to Preferences -> Starfighter -> Tooltips and clicking the 'Turn On Detailed Starfighter Weapon Tooltips' will enable them, which shows you a good bit more info about the range and performance of your weapons. If indeed those are 'off' by default I'll add it up into the guide above.

I also made a couple more edits based on feedback offered elsewhere.

Despon

Ardaneb's Avatar


Ardaneb
06.12.2015 , 09:31 PM | #7
I recently got a new computer and downloaded the game from the site. All of my preferences were reset with the new download on the new machine. The gsf tooltips were not expanded. When I expanded the tooltips on one character, it changed on all my characters on all of the servers.
Paloga/Lantor

DreadzKaiser's Avatar


DreadzKaiser
06.13.2015 , 02:54 AM | #8
Well Isn't this convienent, I just got 2 of my IRL friends to try out GSF

one is hooked, this will be useful.
Veloren Douchensire Grand Champion of the Great Hunt:
<Fully Armed and Operational>

........Nope, not long enough

Timely_Dino's Avatar


Timely_Dino
06.13.2015 , 03:43 AM | #9
As a new is pilot to GSF, I found this to be very insightful even though some of the more complicated mechanics still allude me. Then again I am not against getting wrecked and learning on the fly. My original main for GSF went for the Duster, which is a gun ship that is part strike fighter. My newest main is now using both the bomber and gunship that was pointed out to buy. Now even though I am currently still being wrecked but at least I am starting to enjoy the the diversity of having four ships.
Oh and to point out, I am that friend Dread was talking about.

Lowfrequenzy's Avatar


Lowfrequenzy
06.13.2015 , 05:00 AM | #10
Quote: Originally Posted by caederon View Post

Play the tutorial... then do it again!

It's not a great tutorial. The presentation is choppy and annoying. We know, we have tried to get them to make a better one. But for now, it's what there is. So play it through and pay attention to what it's teaching you. Then do it again, but the second time, don't go capture A right away. Fly around the map. Practice boosting. Try out your Engine Ability (mapped to 3 by default). Try using only missiles when killing the drones. Target one, hold down your right mouse button, and release when you get a lock. Repeat. You are invulnerable to damage during the tutorial, so you can practice flying around the various obstacles until you're comfortable with the way the controls handle. Then seek out an actual match.
This. I was actually thinking about making a thread and/or a video about making the given tutorial effective for new players (as far as I can tell) by just flying it several times and concentrating on different aspects each time. You took the words right out of my keyboard
Motetta across the galaxies
Vanjervalis Chain - T3-M4 - Progenitor - TRE - Ebon Hawk