LIFE ON TITAN
The Afterburner, Holograms, and missiles play far more important rolls in online HardWar than in the offline game. The Afterburner is needed for quick escapes when a dogfight is not going your way. This happens more online. Holograms are good for diverting your opponent whether you're trying to escape or setting them up for attack. Missiles that auto-target your enemy are useful for evasive human pilots.
AFTERBURNER and HOLOGRAMS
The Afterburner can give you a lot of extra speed for a limited period of time. Offensively, it can be used to ambush a target from across a crater. Its biggest advantage, however, is defensive. It gives you a blast of speed to escape a dogfight that you're losing. Specific uses are covered in the Escapes section.
Holograms are another real life-saver. They'll divert your opponents fire for seven seconds. That's like a lifetime in a dogfight. It also wastes the missiles your enemy is firing at it -- heehee.
The best missiles to use are the Devastator, GroundBase, and FireBurst. The other missiles work and are often faster, but don't do as much damage. I still use Swarms occassionally.
The FireBurst is a distant second to the other two favorites. It's slow moving making it easy to evade. It is however a great weapon for ending a dogfight. One shot will slow your opponent to a crawl making him easier to finish off. Get close to your enemy before firing a FireBurst for maximum effect.
The Devastator performs similiarly to the FireBurst, but is far more damaging. It destoys a target on contact. Game Over. Devastators can be evaded and shot down due to their slowness, but it only takes one hit to win the fight. I've never been "Devastated" in a head-to-head dogfight. Save the Devastator for a trap (ala Ouch and NayJay) or when behind and close to an opponent (ala Captain Zedo).
I and many other pilots prefer the GroundBase for almost all dogfighting situations, so expect to see a lot of them online. The GroundBase moves fast and goes to a point beneath the target making it all but impossible to evade. The GroundBase does tremendous damage to the target and keeps the target from firing on you. Best of all, the GroundBase sets the target up for an immediate finish.
To use GroundBase effectively, fire them at a maximum effective distance from your target. This takes some practice. Getting too close can make it difficult to follow-up your attack. Even if your a little too far out, the GroundBase will make your target dip and have to get reoriented. After you've "based" your target quickly descend using both directional thrust and standard, nose-down descent. Spiraling may help keep your prey targeted, too. Try to use another missile or Plasma Kannon to strip shields. If you lose sight of your target, switch to Laser Turret to keep up the attack. Orient yourself behind your target while following up your attack in case he gets up and flying again.
Cannons still play an important role in the online game. They are primarily used to follow up a missile attack. The Plasma Kannon is still as good as a missile for stripping shields. It just doesn't home in on its target. The Laser Turret's auto-tracking feature makes it the preferred cannon in the online game.
You will definitely need some cannonry to keep up an attack while your missiles are reloading. Cannons are also needed in the event that you run out of missiles, but don't want to run off to reload. Many online dogfights are still finished with the Laser or Laser Turret just like in the offline game.
ARRANGING YOUR WEAPONS
The current, "unpatched" version of HardWar gives you no way to rearrange the order in which to cycle through your weapons. Since you can only use one weapon at a time, this means a lot of clumsy cycling through your weapons banks. Maybe the patch will address this. I hope so.
There are three things to remember:
The initial laser that all Moths come with will occupy the number one slot. the number one slot is the slot loaded every time you exit a hangar.
The Laser Turret will always occupy the last slot even if loaded immediately after removing the laser.
The Afterburner will always seems to load right in the middle of things making it quite a nusiance. These seem to be immutable physical laws of the game.
NOTE : If you remove your initial laser, the next thing you fit will be in the number one slot (except for Laser Turret or Afterburner). It will always be loaded when exiting a hangar. This is a good place for Holograms because a lot of pilots (like me) just love ambushing someone exiting a hangar and firing a Hologram can really throw us off. You can remove your laser and put any weapon you like here and it will always be in slot number one.
If you use both Laser Turret and Afterburner, you just have to get good at double clicking the "Next Weapon" button or key. The overall arrangement I like is Holograms followed by missiles, cannons, and Laser Turret.
I like using Holograms and Afterburner as my primary defenses. I use GroundBase and sometimes FireBurst as my missiles, and Plasma Kannon and Laser Turret as my cannons. Remember that you only have a limited number of weapons bays. Check my Moth pageto see how many your Moth has. The order I prefer is:
Now I'm ready for anything including a tricky escape from a hangar. When I attack, I just go to GroundBase and cycle straight through my weapons in order. Don't forget that double-click necessary to get around the Afterburner. I can always use "Previous Weapon" to back up, but cycling back-and -forth can get awfully confusing and you don't have time to think. You can see how confusing the process might be if I didn't have my weapons in order. There's nothing as irritating as accidentally hitting the Afterburner in a dogfight when you aren't expecting it.
Note that I placed my weapons from strongest to weakest. This is the order that is generally preferrable in a dogfight. Hit them with your best first and then cycle down as your more powerful weapons reload/recharge.
To get the weapons in proper order:
Start by removing everything you can. If you have some missiles already loaded, be prepared to dump them by shooting them at air or an AI pilot. Now all of your weapon's bays are empty. The only exception to this rule is the Afterburner. Once fitted with an Afterburner, you can't get rid of it.
Next, go to a weapons dealer or God Hanger (generally used for initial outfitting in the online game). Install what you want to have in slot number 1. In my case (above) that would be Holograms. Now I fit everything in the order I want it to be in. You can fit Laser Turret anytime because it will always take the last available slot. Now your weapons are conveniently arranged and you're ready for some serious dogfighting.
Choose your weapons wisely and try your best to get them arranged as you like them. Then practice, practice, practice. Get so good that you don't have to look away from your target to know what weapon you have selected. Get used to watching your weapons bank cycle on your HUD with your periphial vision. Be aware of lag. Now you're really ready to engage in dogfighting.
Sweet RevengeIf you really want to kill the bastard use what I call the "Sweet Revenge Combo". You GroundBase your target to immobilize him and follow up with a Devastator. Now that's good and dead.