Regarding the advice to novices to deep-bomb in a scout all the time, I said the same thing last summer. But I don't know, flying a fragile ship at high speed through traffic requires experience and fast reflexes, and also I'm not sure the novice will enjoy bombing a few armies as much as blowing ships up. I guess I'd just advise people to fly whatever ship they want, but always go to planets with armies. Too many people fly towards enemy ships; that's how to die. Just go to the armies, whether it's their armies and you want to bomb, or your own armies if you have a kill or think you can get one by intercepting (not chasing!) a bomber. And of course you should dodge torps, phaser lots, and shove torps at anybody that charges you. That's all you need to do to be a good player. [Herbert Enderton]
Well, I'm bored, so here is part of my Collected Knowledge of Scoutbombing. In no particular order.
- Scouts can perform a very important function in base oggs by flying around cloaked and detting single torps. Since their maneuverability is high, scouts are less at risk of actually getting hit with torps; detting single torps forces the base to either 'play honest' and not fire at explosions or to wtemp firing on a gamble that the ship's really there.
- Know your turning radius. At warp 12, you have a great potential of walking too far into a developing firefight if you're not careful. Make sure you *always* have enough turning radius to escape the clutches of any larger ship.
- Never cloak while tractored, phasered, or within tractor or phaser range.
- Always go as far as strategically possible to get armies. Don't pick from planets that your regular carriers might use unless you think they won't get there until the planet is bombed.
- Assuming that the enemy is relatively flat, four of your ships are worth one of their armies.
- Don't lock on to a planet until the moment that you have to. Locking on lowers speed unnecessarily when closing in. Ships locked onto planets from afar can be targetted as having a destination, and that destination can be protected.
- Feigning fuellessness or damage can be an easy way to get a kill, but timing is essential. Always be prepared to book if the enemy decides to whittle you down with phasers before coming in hard.
- Scout torps look just as dangerous as other torps.
- Scout phasers are utterly useless except at extremely short ranges (on top of) or against other scouts. Since your fuel tank is small, save up for a string of fast torps instead.
- Consider the enemy's perception when creating a new fake move. If the enemy is lueless or combat-hungry, fake for the planet and pause momentarily, trying to arrive cloaked in orbit just after the torps pass through. If the enemy is patient, try to exert enough pressure to stick her to the planet or force her to call for help. If the enemy is fixated on defense, consider faking for the planet and uncloaking to kill her when she's left her torps out.
- Feel the enemy pressure like a wind through a field. If the stalks of grass feel like they're bending your way, flow with the wind and shift away, maintaining a cushion of safety while staying threatening. If the flow is too strong, divide it like a knife and try to break through before it can slow and reverse its course.
- Use your torpedoes not only to damage the enemy, but to coax her into mistakes. A line of torpedoes laid out a little ahead of a ship can cause it to slow or veer, increasing the chance that you'll get to your objective.
- If trapped by a base, relax. You will die soon, and your objective is to die in the manner of your choosing. Build up fuel as fast as you can, and then either jet towards the base, forcing it to destroy you, or feint towards the base and then attempt to break free before it can tractor you again.
- Always send a message to your teammates whenever any enemy picks up, along with her location. Also send messages if you detect a long term threat building.
- Watch the exact trajectories of enemies. If an enemy picks up at Earth and points towards Eri, she has asked to be killed by your oggers.
- Assist your oggers in deep backcourt oggs by getting between the ogged enemy and her friends before she knows that you're there.
- Map the nearest neutral planets for fueling purposes.
- Resist the temptation to refit and ogg or take full-time. Every team needs a scoutbomber.
- A scout has two modes; hover and break. There is no reason for a scout to be going any warps other than 0 (refuelling and being nearly unnoticeable on the galactic), 4 (combat speed) and 12 (general movement speed). Don't waste your one advantage by being timid or overly cautious.
- Rank is meaningless. For the scoutbomber, there can be only success or failure. [Felix S. Gallo]
Scout bombing is an excercise in risk management. It it sometimes worthwhile to attempt a suicide bomb, but there are many situations where the risk outweighs the potential gain. Red Shirt's treatise on scout play is a good place to go for information; here are some of the things I've noticed.
KNOW YOUR ENEMY
There are some players (Streaker, for example) who simply *love* to sit by a planet with armies, get the SC kill and go take planets. If someone consistently does this, under NO circumstances should you give them a kill; never allow your opponent to play their game. If this kind of player is on the other team, I'll often bait him by faking repeatedly for the planet he's guarding, with no intention of ever actually trying to bomb.
TAKE WHAT THEY GIVE YOU
Remember that a scout can almost always find an unguarded planet. Fake for the guarded planet and go bomb an unguarded one whenever possible; don't think about bombing a guarded planet unless there are no unguarded armies.
DON'T BE STUPID
You'll rarely get to bomb a planet under a good phaserlocker. If it's a good phaserlocker with kills, that's not a big deal, although if there are unguarded armies somewhere, see the above point. If it's a good phaserlocker with no kills, bail out and wait for better odds. Side note not directly related to scout bombing: some players are more effective when they *don't* have kills. Know them and don't worry much about giving them kills.
If there are no unguarded armies, and no armies guarded by people with kills (or the base), you can think about bombing under a player with no kills. If they suck, go for it; you can usually get in and out and humiliate them in the process. If they're mediocre-good, it's an iffy proposition; if they don't get you on the way in, they'll probably get you on the way out. If they do, they'll now have a kill, and you'll be taking 20-30 seconds to get back into position. As a general rule, I would say it's better to wait it out; if they sit there forever, eventually some other planet will pop and you can bomb it. I will fake in for the planet to keep them busy and out of fuel, but rarely will I go for a bomb if there is a defender sitting on the planet. [Tom Holub]
We should also add the "How to Bomb a Planet Under Anybody" list. There are only a handful of tactics that work against the clueful.
- Approach the planet, dodge back and miss the fired torps by as little as possible. Jump back on the planet when the last torp gets by. Start bombing. If you get a lucky bomb (about near 50% actually) you can bomb the planet before he can det all the torps and fire a new stream.
- Approach the planet at warp 5. Go through the planet, and again dodge the torps by as little as possible. Do as above.
- Go near planet. If the guy won't shoot at you, try making a big circle around the planet. This usually convinces the guy that you are, in fact, orbitting the planet. Again, dodge the torp stream.
- Go through some other planet, and then go to your desired planet. Enemy usually fires at wrong planet.
- Enemy is ultra-clueful and expects you to do one of the above. Just lock on to your planet and bomb. By the time he realizes you went straight in, you may be on the planet and bombing.
Detting may or may not help for any of the above strategies. Detting is most ineffective if you, the enemy, and the torps are almost in a straight line. The reason is that the enemy usually fires at the exploded torps. If you are in a straight line, then he still gets the phaser lock. If you aren't in a line, then there is a good chance that he may fire into thin air. [Brian Paulsen]
Bombing the enemy might seem like a futile chore; in actuality bombing has a strong effect on the strategic flow of the game. Best ships to use are AS (any time) and SC (planets with 10 or less armies). The AS has a better than typical chance of bombing a planet down to less than 4. Use only AS to bomb when armies are REALLY scarce.
Bomb before going after starbase -- there will be a lot of enemies with kills once the SB attack begins, and there will be less people defending planets as well. [Terence M. Chang]
If I'm the team's only deep bomber in a good game, my priority is to stay alive in their space waiting for planets to pop where I can bomb them uncontested. Somebody dubbed this "passive bombing". If at some point I have the only kill for my team, then I'll come back to pick up armies, but I am sure to announce this so that someone else will take over the bombing for me until I die. It's very frustrating (and disastrous) to be captaining a clue game and assign one bomber, then have that bomber quietly stop bombing for a few minutes.
But usually I combine ogging and bombing. I'll lock onto a planet that I might be able to bomb, and if somebody with a kill comes to stop me I'll definitely consider trying to kill him. He's often low on fuel, and if I cloak and make as if to bomb the planet he'll usually fly recklessly towards me. Sometimes the fools even carry armies and do this. I try to keep my options open, and I always look for the easiest target. This is my normal mode of ogging. I basically don't differentiate between the bombing role and the ogging role. I judge how good a scout bomber is mainly by their ability to do this type of ogging. Bombers that run away can be very useful, but it's the bombers with teeth that impress me. I also often mutual ships without kills, either because I'm toast anyway and want to avoid giving them a kill, or because I have a friend in the area who can bomb. [Herbert Enderton]
A few facts about the game which I didn't learn until recently:
- If you tractor a ship which is docked to a starbase, it undocks.
- You aim tractor beams by putting your mouse near the ship, not just pointing in the right direction as with phasers. So you can reach over a ship to tractor one on the other side.
- You can use tractors or pressors the instant you hit the key to uncloak, before you're able to fire.
- A good time to declare war is after you are in orbit around a planet you want to bomb and have hit the bomb key. That way you will bomb during the 10 second control lock-up.
A fun way to use facts 1-3 is to ogg a ship docked to the far side of a starbase, tractoring it directly on top of the starbase as you uncloak and smash into both of them, detting their torps so they will damage each other. [Herbert Enderton]
The problem with escorting is that you never know, for certain, what you should do. I remeber a run I had not too long ago where it seemed to me that I did everything wrong. I escorted when I had kills. I came in behind the guy I was escorting. I detted strangely. I got hit by torps. I died without injuring the enemy. While I was writing an appology, the guy I had been escorting finished taking Rom, genociding the Roms. His messages to me described my run as "awesome". Here are some general rules of thumb for escorting:
- Give your passenger some creadit. You don't have to det every torp. Just ones that she can't dodge.
- In a wide open field, don't kill anyone. Rarely even fire. You will be trying to outrun most random encounters.
- Try to intecept the real Oggers. If you can get them before they planned to fire torps, you can not only keep you passenger alive, but often stay fit enough to keep guarding her.
- Lead your passenger.
- Don't fire torps. Especially, don't fire torps over your passenger. Remeber, she is in charge. Get your phasor lock to let her know where an Ogger is, and let her dicide if the he lives or dies.
- If you plan to cloak and distract the foe, make him really panic. Going for Sir isn't nearly as effective as going for Rom.
- If you plan to stay uncloaked, make yourself the best target. Against determined defenders, this may include flying directly over then and diing.
- Shield flashes mean a lot of things. Most of the time, if an escort flashes shield, it means, "I am really here to escort. I did not show up here randomly.". After that, a passenger will flash for "follow me", or an escort for "OK, I understand". Of course, any time someone flashes, check messages. She may mean something else. [Timothy C. Worsley]
I also do a fair amount of escorting in a scout. E.g. I might be a Fed bomber waiting for Rom planets to pop, and some teammate wants to take Sirius. So I float over to a good escorting position, e.g. between Dra and Sir, and even though I'm in the flimsiest ship I can still stop an ogger from flying over me (if I have fuel). Sometimes I'll even do my waiting on my own front line like a space controller; I admit that scouts are the worst ship for dogfighting, but every little bit helps. Of course, the other way to escort as a scout bomber is to fake. I'm fond of cloaking and going about warp 8 (so as to imitate a non-scout) on my way past the front. I'll do this even if there aren't any particular carriers that I'm trying to help (I usually can't keep track of them anyway). [Herbert Enderton]
The following are Weapon Systems
A direct fire weapon.
The Phaser will fire in whichever direction your mouse is. If it comes close enough to an enemy ship it will lock on to it and follow it for the duration of the phaser pulse. The Phaser CAN lock on a cloaked ship. This can be useful if you follow the beam lock-on you may be able to hit it several times consecutively. Phaser damage drops sharply with range. This appears to be an almost inverse-squared ratio so pay attention to range when using phasers. [ jch : it's a linear relationship on standard servers ]
Damage: Varies greatly. Goes upwards from SC's to SB's.
Fuel: Ranges from ~550 for the SC to ~1100 for the BB.
Heat: Continous Phaser fire builds up weapon temp very quickly. SB's should be carefull of this. [Jesse T. King]
- Photon Torpedoes
A missile weapon.
Photons fire in whichever direction your mouse is pointing. Rapid fire bursts of torpedoes lose some of their acuracy due to spreading.
Damage: SC-25 DD-30 CA-40 BB-40 AS-30 SB-30. [ jch : corrected ]
Fuel: Ranges from 200 to 350.
Heat: Torpedoes produce very little heat. approx. 2 per torp. [Jesse T. King]
- Plasma Torpedoes
A homing missile weapon.
This weapon can only be mounted on DD's, CA's, and BB's. It comes as standard equipment on the SB. Plasmas always fire in the same direction your are facing. Exception: SB's may fire in any direction. To equip your ship with plasmas you must get 2+ kills and refit at your home planet or an SB. Plasmas may be targeted and detonated by phaser fire. Plasma homing systems are not very accurate but they WILL home in on a cloaked ship. Plasmas have a large area of effect. Do not deteonate a Plasma next to your teammate if it might miss anyway, he will take serious damage.
Damage: 100+ damage from a direct hit.
Fuel: 3000 units.
Heat: Plasmas produce up to 30! heat per shot. A starbase under heavy fire should NEVER use plasmas. [Jesse T. King]
- Tractor/Pressor Beams
Tractor/Pressor Beams are a direct fire weapon.
T/P Beams lock on the ship closest to the mouse cursor. If this ship is out of range they will not lock. T/P Beams will NOT lock on a cloaked ship. They WILL retain lock if an already Tractored ship cloaks. In order to escape a Tractor Beam you must do better that warp 8. Warp 8 will evenly counter a Tractor. Note that BB's and AS' cannot escape tractors.
Heat: T/P Beams do not produce weapon heat. They DO produce engine heat tho'. [Jesse T. King]
Some minor corrections and additions to the information about detonating other's torpedos:
All ships have the same detonate radius, 1600. That's twice the orbit radius. Torpedos that explode by hitting somebody do damage to everybody nearby except the person that fired them. Torpedos detonated by someone explode doing damage to everyone except the firer and teammates of the detter. (I just made those words up, hope you don't mind.) The damage from a torpedo ranges linearly from full damage when it's at 350 or closer (that's approximately your shield radius?) down to 0 at 2000. So if you detonate a torpedo at maximum range (1600) it does 24.2% damage. Pressing the det key costs 100 fuel and weapon temperature 2, even if there is nothing to det. So don't hold it down.
Detonating other's torpedos has gained popularity and is now considered a very important tactic. When I first started playing, the old-timers told me that detting was almost always a bad idea. In fact there's a comment in the source code that says "Experienced players never detonate other player's torps." It's definitely tricky to use well. My favorite uses are: (1) to get the first torp or two in a stream (2) in a crowd, and (3) when taking a planet. The trick is to make the snap decision to detonate or not, because if you wait until there are torps near you (like the ones you're just barely dodging), then you mustn't det. I also tend to detonate more SC and AS torps, because at warp 16 they're hard to dodge, and those ships don't have much fuel. E.g. if I'm an AS beaming down armies on an enemy planet, and an enemy AS is firing at me, I can detonate all the torps his fuel tank gives him and live (barely), without even raising my shields. [Herbert Enderton]
Detted torps do not hurt your teammates or the person who fired them, but they DO hurt the teammates of the person who fired them. One more reason to det when escorting planet takers...[Tom Holub]
Detting is definitely one of the factors that distinguishes a mediocre player from a good player, and even to some extent a good player from a great player. All the cases listed above are good examples of when you *might* need to det. The difference between good/great is knowing when you *have* to det, and when it may be better to not det. Situations include escorting the carrier to the planet, and not detting a stream because you know the carrier will dodge them (ie...the stream is way off line...if it's remotely close you have to det just to be sure). Another case would be trying to cripple someone, or not kill counteroggers (Hi delbaeth :> ). In this case, you do NOT want to det enemy torps because that will kill the person in most cases (you also want to make sure they can't end up ontop of you, but that is a different topic). Another case is when you would take more damage from detting instead of dodging..but this is self-explanatory (though Lance seldom follows this :> ). All great players det....I know of no-one who I respect as a great player who does not det for almost all the situations listed above. The only possible exceptions are non-base players who get stuck in a base because of a bad situation. [David M. Nolan]
You can only det torps.
- Detted torps to do less damage than torps that hit. The amount of damage depends on how far the torps are from a ship, so the further away you are, the better.
- *Detted torps do NOT hurt the team-mates of the ship that detted.*
- Detted torps do NOT hurt the ship that fired them.
- *Detted torps DO hurt team-mates of the ship that fired them.*
While you may like to dodge more than to det, there will be many times when you can't turn because you're going to fast, or a valuble team-mate can't, or dodging will put you in a bad position, or a team-mate right behind you will suck the torps (which will damage you anyway, and might kill him for still MORE damage to you. . .). There are a lot of times when you might want to det. I advise that you re-read all of the posts before this one for good ideas. [Sean Christopher Simmons]