Starhawk Multiplayer Advanced Strategies (Part II): Offensive Facilitator The Gadfly

- INTRODUCTION -

Meet the Gadfly, so named because he’s primarily concerned with being the biggest nuisance imaginable – a real jackass actually. No one sees more rage quits then a successful Gadfly, testing the opponent’s defenses, getting cheap kills, and destroying as many special buildings as she can. The Gadfly will force your opponents into real defensive-philosophy stumpers: was arraying my walls like this a good idea?; why did I waste six rift energy on this turret that just got immediately leveled?; could our entire defense and hence my purpose be utterly futile?!

You may think I’m building towards the obvious nomination of Socrates for the quintessential mascot for the Gadfly, but that’s wrong – Gadfly’s are far too tough for narcissistic hacks like that dude. Your spirit animal is instead Shaq, he being the Big Aristotle (that’s two upgrades North over Suckrates) and the most annoying MC ever.

Plus I hear Shaq can fly…

- ORDER OF ACTIONS -

As covered in Part I, your prerequisites are a shotgun, rocket launcher, sniper rifle, mines, and most importantly a jet pack. Acquire these and promptly head over to the enemy’s base, you’ll be spending your entire time as the away team. Unless you’re looking at an easy kill you should skip any conflict in the middle of the map and get down to facilitating easy points for your standard offense. Here’s a rundown of your priorities, in this order:

  1. Destroy shield generators – four rockets or as many grenades plus a rocket; no other single entity will hinder your campaign of terror
  2. Drop any mines – see mine section below
  3. Destroy beam turrets – five rockets or as many grenades plus a rocket; these will not only chip away at your health, they’re practically spot lights that point you at for other defenders
  4. Build structures – see building section below
  5. Kill players with special weapons – you don’t want to get blown out of the sky with a rocket launcher or sniper shot; this includes players in Hawks
  6. Kill helpless players – anyone that’s just landed, players climbing into hawks, trying to drop buildings, grab a jet pack, anyone who hasn’t noticed you, etc all constitute easy kills
  7. Destroy normal turrets – two rockets or as many grenades plus a few taps from the rifle; or one rocket and one clip from the kinetic rifle is you’re low on ammo; three or more will take you down quickly, don’t risk it
  8. Destroy Vulture Stations – five rockets or as many grenades plus a rocket; you don’t want anyone matching your mobility advantage
  9. Destroy Hawk Hangars/Depot’s – five rockets or as many grenades plus a rocket; hawks can quickly smoke you if you’re on the ground
  10. Destroy Walls – eight rockets or as many grenades and two rockets; ONLY if they’re so arranged so as to prevent flag capture and ONLY one to create an opening, most walls are irrelevant

A summary of what you DON’T to do in the order of how stupid it is:

  1. Stay in one place longer than a few seconds – mobility is your key to survival; this includes knifing players or turrets
  2. Get in any vehicle – you’re always more effective with your trusty jet pack, plus see #1
  3. Destroy poorly created walls and turrets – if they’re not effective, they’re only hurting the other team by occupying building slots
  4. Destroy Supply Bunkers – these are best mined and left standing so you yourself can get ammo; the time commitment is high as well due to their toughness
  5. Destroy Sniper Towers – ditto for #4; they also make excellent elevated platforms for your attacks

The grand exceptions to all of this, when you should disregard your normal duties, is when…

  1. Your conventional offense itself is mounting an attack. Hopefully they have vehicles, but even if they’re all on foot you should swoop in and take out any enemies and turrets that are directly threatening them. You’ll notice that once one of your teammates grabs the flag, every opponent will tend to focus exclusively on them. Use this to your advantage – drop in with the shotgun and go to work. If you have the rift you can consider dropping a Garage or Corral quickly to create a getaway vehicle for your teammate, but you don’t want to get in the Razorback yourself. As always, you’re more effective escorting with your jet pack.
  2. Your adversaries are about to score, and are rolling in to their base with your flag. This is bad. Kill that flag carrier and get your flag returned ASAP. This constitutes an exception where you may want to drop mines around their flag point to kill their flag carrier, or around your flag itself once it drops. Standing around your dropped flag until it gets sent back is a thankless job and you’ll probably get iced, but you’ll also probably be the only soldier in a position to do this. With any luck your team will have their flag, in which case you get to be the hero that ends the stalemate by hunting down their flag carrier and blowing her away.

Why is the Gadfly not driving an Ox? Zero mobility. You won’t be half as versatile and you will actually die quicker, since the Ox’s damage accrues over time and yours resets every few seconds. Plus your overall damage output will actually be less, since you’ll waste more time maneuvering into position

- MOBILITY GUIDE -

Your jet pack is your best friend. You should constantly be using it to keep the height advantage and zip around different sections of their base. There are a few routines in particular that will become standard practice for your warpath:

  1. Learn to establish a rhythm of landing briefly, doing damage, then blasting off. You’ll stay moving, avoiding pesky capsule drops and rifle fire, while constantly getting the jump on your foes.
  2. By far the most efficient means for dispatching individual soldiers is making a controlled hover down on top of them while you unload with your trusty shotgun. If you don’t get the kill in midair try and land as close as possible without entering melee range, ~3 feet.
  3. A little more tricky, using your rocket launcher can work really well when using the Weapon Mods skill. Two rockets shots in close proximity to a soldier = a kill
  4. Always fight Hawks & Tanks off the ground, their various weapons will rarely hit you when you have the height advantage.
  5. Always try to have solid ground close by when flying to avoid lock on rocket deaths. Never fly more than ~10 feet off the ground when traversing long distances. When crossing large valleys or gulches, try to jump off and hit ignition right before you hit the ground.
  6. Always move after destroying a single building or getting a kill from afar with your rocket launcher or sniper rifle. Even if your foes lack long distance weapons you’ll conceal your position.

 

- BUILDING FOR OFFENSE -

The heart of your assault philosophy is disrupting and destroying your enemy’s defense, so it’s no surprise that your rift energy use is devoted to these same ends. You will be focusing on deploying defensive structures in and around their base to grab kills, prevent their own base building and management, and draw attention away from your conventional offense. No matter what you feel is most effective in the given circumstances, you should be saving up for 6-8 rift and then drop a few structures quickly, to increase their survivability and potency. Here’s what you should concentrate on, in this order:

  1. Bunkers crowned with three turrets. Any two turrets will smoke ground troops quickly, and all three are occasionally enough to kill someone before they can get from the ladder to the entry hole. You’re also buying yourself another (temporary) sanctuary to re-arm in. This is best built in a moderately elevated area in very close proximity to their base (within range for the turrets to hit enemies). You’ll definitely see many of your turrets get stomped by drop pods, so you’ll have to constantly build more.
  2. Walls converted to gates in close proximity to their flag, intentionally designed to mess up their own wall building efforts and create a permanent hole for grabbing the flag. Being such a bitch to take out, most teams will just let the wall stand. If you can’t afford to drop down to convert it to a gate make sure you build the wall facing away from the flag so your allies can easily take the ladder out or reclaim it.
  3. Walls converted to gates right outside their outer gates, again for frustrating their flow of traffic and wasting their time as they try and destroy it. It doesn’t hurt that watching their razorbacks run smack into a gate over and over NEVER gets old.
  4. Random turrets in and around certain structures, the best spot being right behind ladders and Vulture Stations to nail soldiers when they’re not really moving. Try to build them with cover on one side, provided by one of their buildings, so as to limit pot shots on them from afar.
  5. A Beam Turret outside of one of the entry/exit points of their base, but still close enough to the flag to hit targets in their base. If possible on equal elevation to the rest of the base (beam turrets do not have a large striking range South) and behind a rock or non-destructible object (to help cover its torso). This will probably get destroyed quickly, but placed well it can harass just about everyone within reach and tick off damage against vehicles leaving their base, starting all of their offense with 60% health. This is really a risky bet of rift though, only for situations when you’ve got plenty to burn.
  6. In situations where you see your allies attack in a razorback that subsequently gets destroyed, a Garage or Carroll for their easy getaway. As stated above, you don’t want to jump in said jeep, just give them a getaway and cover their ass.

 

Why is the Gadfly not piloting a hawk? Too few options for projecting destruction and lack of agility, replaced instead with speed. You want maneuverability, not sheer zip; think Nightcrawler > Quicksilver

 

- STRATEGIC MINE USE -

Mines are a crucial aspect of your arsenal. One of your first priorities when learning a new map is figuring out the mine location(s). If you have the Scavenger perk even better, since three is a paltry amount to start with. Keep an eye on the scrolling messages for your mine kills so you know when to drop new ones, and then look for the telltale flashing green. Laying mines in the following order is one of your first priorities, since they net you kills, prevent the other team from grabbing special weapons that will end you quickly; and generally frustrate your enemies:

  1. In the space between the door and ladder entrance inside enemy Supply Bunkers, such that both entry points are hazard zones. This way any foe looking to grab a rocket launcher or shotgun will be stymied while you can keep dropping in whenever you want to re-up on ammo.
  2. Just a couple feet off the ladder at the top of Watchtowers, such that anyone stepping up from a ladder gets creamed but also jetpack soldiers that fly up get crunched. Now nobody will have access to a sniper rifle and you can keep your perch to rain down destruction from above.
  3. In cases where the enemy is running your flag back to their base, drop a mine right in front of the flag or at the top of the ladder leading to the flag. You’ll be surprised how often people don’t notice them. It’s a last ditch effort but it can save your ass.
  4. If (for some unknown reason) the enemy base has neither a bunker or a tower and you’ve got nothing else to do with them, pop them down right in front of the consoles on buildings that produce vehicles. The added benefit is that every mine explosion further damages the structure.

 

- SKILL SELECTION DISCUSSION –

I won’t detail the best way to gain the pre-requisites for the different perks you can pick up – that’s beyond the scope of this already bloated guide. Nor will I cross-compare the merits of the different perks out there – you’ll have to toy around with those yourself. For this role, there are indisputably only three different choices for you:

Scavenger — This perk increases the maximum amount of ammo you can carry and subsequently the number of rounds you pick up per grab to match your deeper pockets. Admittedly less effective than the other two, this one only shines when your enemy lacks Supply Bunkers and Watchtowers for ammo re-ups and you’re forced into a journeyman style of play that emphasizes economic use of ammo. Having an extra grenade and mine can be really nice, but it’s usually not worth it. Also great if you find yourself traversing the map more…but that shouldn’t really be happening now should it?

Weapon Mods — This perk increases your overheat time on mounted guns, but far more importantly it adds to your clip size on all weapons. This extra bump – one more rocket, three more shotgun and sniper rounds, and 18 more bullets in your kinetic rifle – can make all the difference in countless fights. One more rocket means you can drop a hawk or razorback before they can escape and almost double your building destruction efficiency; three more shot guns shells or sniper rounds can be the difference between what’s turned into a sloppy kill and the one who got away; that extra heft in your assault rifle clip will let you spray bullets faster than your similarly equipped foe and win out on those one on one encounters. This will give you a noticeable umph in your offensive production, highly recommended.

Rift Affinity — This perk allows you to continually gather rift wherever you are on the map, so you’ll share your enemy’s inherent advantage of “slow-drip rift” even in their home court. This perk is geared towards those looking to focus more of their time on building for offense, as opposed to a flying one man wrecking crew. You gain ~1 rift point per 45 seconds, amounting to an additional 20 rift to spend per 15 minute game (not too shabby). On paper it doesn’t look like much, but you will definitely notice the nice bump in rift to blow on structures. If you excel at quick building deployment and would rather have your stationary minions rack up kills and cause havoc this perk is your best fit.

 

- SUMMARY EXAMPLE ON ‘SPACE’ -

One of Starhawk’s ‘small’ maps, but this strategy can work well with any size

 

  1. Enemy’s flag and presumed center of their base
  2. Areas where you should build a bunker with turrets
  3. Different spots where you should be flying to and firing from to destroy and harass the enemy
  4. Choke points where walls are appropriate
  5. Low terrain good for covering a potential beam turret

 

Author: Wu

3 Comments

  1. Nice. Was looking for something like this to clarify my game. Have a lot of experience with RTS games (dating back to, say, Warcraft I) and strategy games in general (Civ I). And have a lot of experience with FPS games (~250 hours in BF3, for example). But Starhawk is an interesting mix and demands more focus.

    Thanks for the tips.

    Look forward to the next installment.

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks Colin! I’m hoping that Starhawk ultimately receives the attention it deserves strategy wise come launch…there’s tons of room in this game experiment with different team tactics.

      Post a Reply
  2. Hello everyone

    I’m Jurgen and I would like to welcome all forum members…
    Hope to have a good time here.

    Jurgen

    Post a Reply

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