Starhawk Multiplayer Advanced Strategies (Part III): Defensive Facilitator “The Lanna”

- INTRODUCTION -

The Lanna is focused on cutting the defense slack. You are the Osgiliath to your fellow defender’s Minas Tirith.  Floating around the middle of the map, she is focused on destroying incoming enemy assaults, providing the last hope for stopping a runaway flag, and creating a kind of buffer base between your opponent’s base and your own, both for protection and to assist in the above. Even if you find yourself spending time killing off enemy foot soldiers and blowing up buildings, your primary function is still creating and maintaining this intermediary base plus surrounding structures. If you seem to be constantly recreating leveled buildings that’s a good sign: it means their offense or air support is muddled up with you instead of your base proper. If you find other foot soldiers spawning at your base that’s great too!

Now then, the naming is obvious right? Lanna’s are named after the famous but short lived Thai micro-power of the 13th century that successfully held off Mr. Kubla Khan for years, denying him critical sea ports and modern day Cambodia. Not too shabby, considering how many fully fledged nation states fell to the horde.

Lanna occupied modern day Laos and Myanmar.

Also, I have a crush on Harvest Moon’s fishing prodigy and J-Pop star Lanna, so she’s the acting mascot for this role.

A spitting image of modern day Thai residents.


- BUILDING ORDER AND MANAGEMENT -

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 navigate to what you determine to be a high traffic zone that is far enough away from their base to be outside of immediate danger but also close enough to a couple highpoints for sailing rockets at their production buildings. This roughly means that none of your buildings are within firing lines from their base, but that you yourself can hop up to a position for impromptu offense. Additionally, you’ll need to be within spitting distance of clumps of rift barrels to fuel your rapid expansion. Once you’ve staked out the Promised Land and saved up enough it’s time to start building. You’ll need to run a tight ship, making the most out of the precious few building slots allocated your way. Your priorities, in this order:

  1. Supply Bunker – these will keep your ammo stocked and provide cover
  2. Watchtower – you get a sniper rifle of course, but they’re just as valuable for ammo and superior firing position as well
  3. Vulture Station – you need one, everyone else that spawns here will want one; consider building before a Watchtower if you have the rift
  4. Outpost – you want to give yourself and others a means to spawn close by, but nothing focuses the ire of hawks like a naked outpost so it’s #4
  5. Energy Shield – now it’ll be infinitely easier to defend your buffer base and cover your own ass; your layout should be tight, so fitting your whole buffer base inside will be cake
  6. Beam Turret – great defensive structure for guarding against your number one threat: hawks; try and stack this guy right next to your outpost or shield generator to cover one side
  7. Turrets – first built on your supply bunker then in the inner layers of your base; no more than 6 is EVER necessary, four being the sweet spot
  8. THAT’S IT – nothing else is desirable here; in fact…

…you’ll often be confronted with heaps of unnecessary structures, strewn about the map with little thought. The Lanna has the thankless job of reclaiming these structures, to free up building slots for himself and teammates. You’ll want to focus your deconstruction accordingly:

  1. Walls – seeing these outside of your base proper should trigger a brain aneurysm, nothing could be more worthless
  2. Doubles – as in second copies of the critical buildings detailed above; one is all you need
  3. Single Turrets – these guys couldn’t muster a kill by themselves in open terrain if their last motion sensor depended on it
  4. Hawk Hangar – your pilots should always be spawning and flying off from your inner base; they’ll never fit in your shield
  5. Depot – as long as building slots are limited, you’re not trying to be a fully-fledged military base; anyone wanting an Ox can start at the base with the Hawks
  6. Razorback Garage – same as 4 & 5, although far less egregious due to the jeep’s perennial usefulness for attack squads that may be using your base as a staging ground; I can see a case made for their inclusion if your defense is placing buildings judiciously (sadly, this is rarely the case); when the cards are down, these are more useful at your main base than they are here
  7. Corral – ditto as with #6, there’s a case for their inclusion but you’ll rarely have the extra building slots to justify it; it also helps that their smaller frame is easier to fit into your energy shield; you should always have at least one rift to drop one temporarily for the on foot flag carrier, should it come to that

    *NOTE*    Imagine this list doubled under itself, with the first set applying to dumb structures built in or close to your own base then repeated for structures outside, on other parts of the map. For example, you’ll always want to reclaim Corrals within arm’s reach of your base before Walls far outside it, after which you could move on to Hawk Hangars built far away as well.

- OVERARCHING ORDER OF ACTIONS -

Building your base up is your chief concern, but you’re gonna be busy with a lot more than that. Your meta-list of priorities, in this order:

  1. Attend to #1 through #5 in your building list – keeping a self-sustaining base humming is why god put you on…well whatever you happen to be fighting on
  2. Quickly drop mines – see mine section below
  3. Seek and destroy nearby enemy bases – these are often designed to bypass your own base and hence jeopardize your flag and bankrupt your own value; destroy these to keep their offense flowing through your area of control
  4. Seek and destroy nearby stragglers – this means single enemies similarly trying to control the middle or in the process of mounting an offensive; regardless of their getup – on foot, in vehicle, flying around, etc. – you can handle these one-on-one encounters yourself
  5. Seek and destroy nearby, tactically significant enemy structures – killing off enemy buildings will net you rift and block their strategy, whether it’s an easy means of escape with your flag (Corral or Razorback Garage) or a means to chip damage off friendly vehicles (normal and Beam Turrets)
  6. Reclaim buildings #1 through #5 – you don’t want these gumming up your free quota of buildings
  7. Attend to #6 and #7 in your building list – having the extra defense will help, but it’s a luxury compared to the above
  8. Destroy the enemy’s unit buildings – …and in this order: Hangar, Garage, Vulture Bays, Depots, Corrals, and if you’ve got nothing else Supply Bunkers; neutering their offensive engine will significantly slow their attack
  9. Reclaim #6 and #7 – as stated above these can be useful, so use your discretion

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

  1. Enemy forces are attacking your Lanna base. Whether they’re a potent posse of ground vehicles or just some dude you should handle these chumps right away, hopefully with the assistance of your allies and turrets. That they’re attacking you is a testament to your effectiveness, but that doesn’t mean you want them to succeed. Ideally, your perimeter holds and you can focus on #3 through #9 of your actions list above.
  2. Your adversaries have your flag, and are cruising out of your homestead with it. This is bad. Kill that flag carrier and get your flag returned ASAP. This constitutes an exception where you may want to build temporary structures or drop mines to help towards this end. Determine their intended path back to their base and set any obstacles in their way that will help. Standing around your dropped flag until it gets sent back is a shit job and you’ll probably get iced, but you’re usually the best man for the job.

 

Don’t bother with the Repair Tool. Why? Because you have better things to do than stand around vulnerable repairing existing structures. Acquiring this ‘weapon’ eats up time as well.

- MOBILITY GUIDE -

Your jet pack is your best friend for quickly maneuvering around the map and attending to your manifold chores. You should constantly be using it to keep the height advantage and zip around different sections of your controlled territory. There are a few routines in particular that will become standard practice for keeping the peace:

  1. Never stay in one place more than a couple seconds; mobility is your key to survival and rapid deployment of precisely placed buildings. In this vein, you’ll shun any seats in any vehicles.
  2. Learn to establish a rhythm of landing briefly, doing damage, then blasting off. You’ll stay moving, avoiding vehicles trying to run you over and rifle fire, while constantly getting the jump on your foes.
  3. 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, ~4 feet.
  4. 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
  5. Always fight Hawks and Tanks off the ground, their various weapons will rarely hit you when you have the height advantage.
  6. 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.
  7. When taking pot shots on their base, 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 keep them guessing.

- STRATEGIC MINE USE -

Mines are a crucial aspect of your forward defense. One of your first priorities when learning a new map is figuring out the mine location(s) – with any luck your ideal base position will be right next to their spawn site! 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 gaining ground on your Lanna base, and generally frustrate your enemies:

  1. In the space between the ladder and top opening of your own Supply Bunkers. Individual foot soldiers will frequently try and jump in said buildings to cover themselves and grab weapons – any shitty player can level your base quickly by firing an infinite supply of rockets from the protection of your own bunker. Take away that option.
  2. At any elevated height that provides a firing lane to your base or a jumping off point for jet pack soldiers to descend from. You obviously don’t want this. With a little luck you can stick one on the corner of a ledge and thereby slightly hide its presence without reducing its effectiveness.
  3. At the top of your Watchtowers, right in the center. Smart attackers will try to use your own tower to their advantage, gaining both ammo and a firing spot. Leave them a little surprise when they alight the ladder.
  4. Any small ridge that can conceal a mine in the center of a known traffic route. Much of the time a fast moving razorback or jet bike won’t even notice as they fly right over it. I’ve had these save the game by destroying a flag carrier on their way back to their base.

     

- 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 two different choices for you:

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.

Combat Intel — This perk allows you to see every enemy on the map, irrespective of their location and weapon discharges. This is phenomenally useful for tracking down stragglers, seeing assaults en route, and tracking down enemy flag snatchers. Flying high with your jetpack, you’ll usually gain the element of surprise with this perk. This can also be used to lay mines in choice locations. Said skill definitely shines on larger maps as well, when your field of vision is naturally hampered.

 

- SUMMARY EXAMPLE ON ‘ACID SEA’ -

This map in particular is an ideal setting for the Lanna – it’s small enough to cover ground quickly but large enough to give you time to react to enemy movements.

  1. Your ‘Lanna base’ location
  2. The enemy’s base
  3. Likely locations of forward enemy bases
  4. Good spots for dropping mines
  5. Different locations for firing on the enemy base
    Check back soon for more strategies custom tailored to specific team roles!

Author: Wu

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