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Tips For New GSF Players: Dak's GSF Guide 2.0

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Galactic Starfighter
Tips For New GSF Players: Dak's GSF Guide 2.0

DakhathKilrathi's Avatar

06.06.2021 , 05:04 AM | #1

Hi! I'm Dak (better known in game as Sriia, Zyrieas, or Faleri). You might feel like you've seen a similar guide from me before, and you would be right. I'm posting this as a new thread because I feel like it might be a good idea to preserve the old one in case anyone is ever curious about where things used to stand.

I've been playing GSF since it launched, and I like to think I'm pretty good at it.

I understand that GSF has a pretty steep learning curve and it can be frustrating to die repeatedly when you don't understand how or why that keeps happening. We all started there, believe it or not. It took me a few hundred games before things really clicked for me. These days? My solo win rate is something like 70% - 80%, because I took the time to understand the mechanics and how things work. My reaction time really isn't all that great. If I can manage to play well, most people can.

It really is just a matter of knowledge. Unfortunately, Bioware doesn't explain the game terribly well. Fortunately, many players in this game mode are all too happy to help! Please feel free to join the GSF Discord (link in my signature or click here) and ask any questions at all. There are no stupid questions. You can also try the GSF channel on your server: "/cjoin gsf" on most servers.

General Tips

Read the other guides.
As soon as you're done here - and possibly before - you should check out the other very helpful guides available in this forum and elsewhere. Most are much more in depth than this one is.

I recommend Despon's excellent GSF school channel and his basic training playlist. The basics are the same, and the 5.5 video covers what points changed. Each video is quite short but teaches you something important.

Swtorista also wrote a pretty good guide from the perspective of a frustrated player. Start here:

Also check her channel as she has put together a very good playlist on GSF.

Additionally, Hayward over on is putting work into compiling a list of builds for each ship. As far as I know it's still a work in progress, but it's worth checking out.

Join the GSF channel to find help and/or groups.
On most servers, this channel is just [gsf]. Join it by typing: "/cjoin gsf". People in this channel are happy to help you learn how to play. Note that you can add new tabs or change chat channel colors: right click on the tabs at the top and choose "Create New Tab" or "Chat Settings." From the Chat Settings menu you can change the color of any channel and choose which tabs they are displayed on.

Join the (unofficial) GSF Community Discord Server
I mentioned this above too, but it's important enough to repeat. We also have a Discord server! It's open to anyone, and we have players from every server. You can use this resource to ask for help, find players on your server, find groups, or just chat about the game. There are also several voice channels that are open to any group, anytime. There are no stupid questions and we welcome anyone at any skill level here.

Spend the 20k Fleet Requisition from the intro quest on unlocking other ships, and crew members you need for your builds.
You want the ships you plan to use on your bar from the very beginning. Requisition tokens you get from dailies and weeklies (and from the fleet comms vendor on Fleet in the GTN section) all grant requisition to every ship you have unlocked, so you want to unlock them as early as possible. Also pick up crew members for your build (check Hayward's guide if you need help with this). Once you have the ships you want to unlock and the crew members, consider getting the right components for each slot with your remaining Fleet requisition. Be careful how much Fleet (purple) requisition you spend on this.

Always remember to pick up the daily/weekly GSF missions, and open the boxes you get after each game to get the req tokens in them.
This will help you upgrade your ships faster.

If you're really in a hurry, you can spend Fleet Commendations on requisition too.
There's a vendor in the GTN section with account bound requisition grants that you can get with Fleet Commendations.

For upgrades that have two options, you can only choose one (but you can change your mind later).
For example, on Heavy Laser Cannon, the upgrade at tier 4 is either "Improved Tracking and Critical Hit Chance" OR "Ignore Armor". Choose one or the other, and remember that you can change your mind at any time for no additional requisition cost.

Take Ignore Armor on any weapon that has this talent.
In GSF, armor penetration is a binary choice. Either you have it or you don't. This allows your weapons to ignore a target's Damage Reduction. Damage Reduction is common on bombers and some strikes, so ensuring that you have some sort of armor penetration available will help you kill them faster. All satellite turrets also have armor/damage reduction. Once you have this, you can clear satellite turrets much more quickly. Weapons that have this as an upgrade include: Heavy Laser Cannon, Burst Laser Cannon, Rapid Fire Laser Cannon, Rocket Pods, Slug Railgun, Concussion Missiles (though the slow is probably better on this one). Proton Torpedoes totally ignore armor as well, and don't require an upgrade to get it.

Consider saving your daily/weekly req tokens until you have the ships you want.
If you hold onto your daily tokens, you can pop them all at once when you're done buying ships for a while and have a nice boost on the ships you held them for.

Play a little of everything.
By learning to play any type of ship, you also learn how to beat them. It's much easier to understand what the weaknesses of a class are when you're familiar with the class. It also means you have more options if someone plays the counter to your preferred ship type.

Skill > Gear
Don't make the mistake of thinking that you're being outclassed simply because of upgrades. Having the right components is important, but it doesn't cost very much requisition to get them. Upgrades to those components help, but they really only matter in a situation where skill is comparable. It is possible to dominate a game in a stock ship, and there are players on this forum who have done so.

No, [insert class here] is not overpowered or impossible to kill. You just haven't learned how yet.
There is a way to beat every ship in the game. Nothing is invincible. If you want help learning to deal with a specific type of ship, just ask! We're happy to help around here.

Ion Missile and Ion Mine are STILL hilariously bad.
Yeah. Don't run these. The other missiles all have a place now, but both of these are still a waste of a slot.

No, what you're seeing isn't hacking.
I'm nearly 100% certain of this, but if you think you're seeing cheating/hacking/whatever, get it on video, upload it to youtube, and send it to me or one of the other forum regulars. We'd be happy to tell you what it is that you're actually seeing.

Basic Gameplay Tips

You're going to die a lot at first. That's okay.
I understand that it's frustrating to be the new guy. A lot of the people who play this game have been playing it since GSF launched, and they happen to be very good at it. As with any PVP game, it's going to take time for you to learn the mechanics. Improve your chances by looking for a group in your server's GSF channel and asking for help. You might benefit from watching some of the tutorial videos that are out there. Drakolich has some good tutorials. The GSF School channel is also a great source of information and I can't recommend it enough.

There are also some channels where you can watch gameplay and even without the framing of a tutorial, these are very helpful too. Here are a few:
Luc Nodaro GSF
Philip Williams

When something kills you, pay attention to what happened. Try to avoid dying the same way in the future. If you're ever unsure of how or why you died, ask! Most of us are happy to help, because we want you to like this game as much as we do.

Spacebar to boost.
This one shouldn't need to be said, but a lot of new players just don't know how to do this for some reason. If you didn't know this one, don't feel too bad about it, but go play through the tutorial.

Practice power management.
By default, this is on F1 - F4. F1 is power to weapons. Use this if you are shooting at something. F2 is power to shields. Use this when you need your shields to recharge quickly, but remember that shields do not regen while you're under fire, and make sure you swap back to something else pretty quickly. F3 is power to engines. If you're boosting and/or you need to regen engine power, this is where you should be. F4 is balanced, but you shouldn't be spending much time on this setting in general. I find that I spend most of my time with power to engines.

Stay very close to satellites to capture or prevent your team from losing them.
This is another one that shouldn't need to be said, but new players struggle with this. The capture range is actually very small, so stay inside the fins. If you're the only one on your team near a contested satellite (you can tell it's contested if it's flashing on the UI), stay on it as long as you can. If your choices are fly away from the node or die, you should choose to die. The couple of seconds you buy might be long enough for someone else to get there.

Learn where Damage Overcharge (DO) spawns in Team Deathmatch, and pay attention to who has it.
You might think there are no objectives in TDM. You would be wrong. Damage Overcharge is a powerup that doubles the damage of any ship that picks it up. They have predictable spawn locations, and you should take the time to learn where they spawn. If this powerup is up for grabs, you or someone on your team needs to get it. Watch for the big red/green text to pop up to tell you who picked up DO. If it's a red name, immediately tab target to locate them so you can avoid them. Drakolich posted a very helpful guide that can help you learn where these spawn.Verain later added a thread with the Iokath DO spawn locations. Learning these takes time but it's worth it.

Don't just upgrade the stock components!
In general, you want to change a few of the components that come on each ship. Most of them have odd or less than optimal choices to start with. Hayward's or Drakolich's guides are good places to check for builds that actually work. I will also (eventually) be including mine at the end of this thread.

Only fire at targets that are in range, and remember to shoot at the lead indicator, not the ship itself.
If your accuracy is consistently under 5%, this tip is for you. The lead indicator changes color from grey to red when you're in range. Most weapons have different accuracy at close, mid, and max range. You can see this (and a lot of other things) by...

Make sure you turn on detailed tooltips and enable cooldown text as well!
Both of these are located in settings.

You can turn down screen shake to make aiming a bit easier.
Also located In settings. This is especially helpful on a scout, but it's helpful in general.

Turn down mouse sensitivity in Windows or turn down the DPI on your mouse.
Most of the time, you're going to find that this will help. I don't know why you can't adjust sensitivity in game, but you can't. This is the best way to work around that limitation. You can always change it back when you aren't playing, though I've found that I don't have to turn it down that much.

Make sure "enhance pointer precision" is unchecked if you're using Windows settings. Similarly, make sure you aren't using mouse acceleration if your mouse software has an option like that. Those settings make your cursor move farther the faster you move the mouse if they are on, which makes aiming harder. It's best to have it off.

Take the time to read the information in game about Starfighter and check the key binds so you know what the controls are.
There aren't that many controls in game, but there are enough that you may not realize it's possible to do something until you see that there's a default key for it.

Spend a little time in the tutorial (or in a custom challenge map) practicing flying around, locking on missiles, and generally learning how the game is played.
No, it's not a great tutorial, but it's better than nothing. Access the tutorial by clicking on the '?' icon on the top right of the GSF hangar window (the window you queue from).

If you've got a couple of friends, you can make two groups of two and do custom games. As far as I know, the directions for how to do this are the same as they were on the PTS.

Don't fly in a straight line while someone is shooting you.
By varying your course (and to a lesser extent speed; you want to be boosting away in general) you make it harder for anyone to hit you. Practice this. Your goal should be to get to an asteroid or a satellite or some other obstacle you can use to try to break line of sight.

Check who shot you with R, cycle targets with Tab, and target the ship under your cursor with E.
These are the default keybinds, and you can change them if you want. You should get in the habit of cycling targets to have a quick look at what's going on in the match.

You can see who your current target has targeted at the bottom of the target window in red. You can also see which direction they're facing. Be aware that a gunship does not necessarily have to have you targeted to hit you with a railgun, so if they're facing you and in range, assume that they might be trying to shoot you.

Line of sight is important.
If you can find some sort of obstacle (a rock, a satellite, a piece of debris) to fly very close to when someone is shooting at you, you can make it difficult or impossible for them to hit you. This is particularly useful against gunships or missiles. Remember that you can tap the 'C' key to take a look at your current target to verify that they don't have LoS.

In general, hold your missile break until after a missile is launched.
The tone you're hearing changes to more of an alarm when a missile is launched. The exception to this is when you know your enemy can disable your missile break, but for the most part it's better to hold the break until the missile is in flight.

Watch for (and use) friendly hyperspace beacons. Hunt down the other team's beacons.
Beacons give you a place to spawn that is much closer to the objectives. In domination (particularly Denon), hyperspace beacons are very important if someone is running them. Use them if they are available, and destroy any hyperspace beacons that you see. Check the enemy team's bombers for the Hyperspace Beacon buff icon. If you see it, someone should go find the beacon. This is less of a problem than it used to be, but you should still be watching for them.

When facing a gunship line, watch your cooldowns and approach.
This is really only a TDM tactic, but it's not hard to counter. Don't, under any circumstances, charge a gunship line from the front. Plan your route, grab powerups on your way, and circle around behind the gunship line. Save your cooldowns until you're in the fight, and know your escape route ahead of time.

By doing it this way, you force the gunships on the enemy team to move, or you kill them. Even if you can't kill them, you made them stop shooting, and that's a contribution. If this doesn't work, look at team compositions. If your team doesn't have a decent gunship, consider filling the role.

If you are being spawn camped in TDM, pick a different spawn point next time you respawn.
No, really, that's all you need to do. It's exceedingly rare that even the most unbalanced games has someone at all three spawn points. Pay attention to where the action is, and spawn somewhere else so you have some breathing room and can engage on your terms.

DakhathKilrathi's Avatar

06.06.2021 , 05:04 AM | #2
reserved for ship tips

DakhathKilrathi's Avatar

06.06.2021 , 05:05 AM | #3
reserved for ship tips 2

DakhathKilrathi's Avatar

06.06.2021 , 05:05 AM | #4
reserved for builds and comments

SeCKSEgai's Avatar

06.06.2021 , 01:44 PM | #5
If you can, please put in a section explaining the firing arc in detail - that was probably the hardest concept for me to grasp since there was so little detail in the usual guides. I keep thinking about doing a write up since its the biggest problem for newer players but compiling a comprehensive guide has been a bit of a deterrent .

Ttoilleekul's Avatar

06.08.2021 , 02:37 AM | #6
This is a really great summary introduction guide Sriia. I am going to start linking this to people when they ask for help. Thanks.