KIA's Clue GuideNote: If you are not familiar with Netrek vocabulary terms such as ++, LPS, Pop, DI, and Ogg, see the short vocabulary section at the end, or the full netrek glossary.
Topics in this guide include:
- Getting Clued
- Planet Defence
- Planet Taking
- Ogging a Starbase
- Defending a Starbase
- Playing a Starbase
- General Questions/Notes
- Appendix: Vocabulary
The way to become a "clued" player
First, there are no shortcuts. You have to play a lot and get experience but here are a few hints that will help you on the way.
- Look at the strategic map more than 50%, this is really important and you have to look at it even when dogfighting, escorting and/or taking planets.
- Look at the playerlist every now and then, this to see which of the enemy players that are potential carriers. Keep an eye at those players with kills and keep track on them if they pick up armies, don't forget to alert your teammates.
- You have to keep an eye at the message window as well, this to see if any of your teammates has spotted a enemy carrier or if your team needs help escorting etc.
- When you died and your ship 'res' in at the homeworld, don't just rush
at maxwarp to the front and then start to think about what to do. Check
if there is anything important that you could do to help your team right
away as you appear at the homeworld.
- Helping a friendly carrier that's in trouble in your own core. This could mean checking the enemy SC bomber to help save a pop or to simply kill him off before he can hurt your carrier.
- Check if there is a friendly ship that's leaving the front to move back to pickup. Move in his direction to be able to help him if he's being ogged, if there is a ogger you might be able to pick up an easy kill. Anyway, since he's leaving the front your presence there will probably be needed, controlling etc.
Maneuvering: When dogfighting you need to keep changing your speed, this will make it much harder for enemy ships to calculate where to aim at. Most of the time I fly at warp 2 dodging and turning all the time, this combined with sudden rushes and speed changes works really well for me. Remember to 'det' torps that you cant dodge, better to 'det' them than letting your shield/hull take a real beating. I also use 'det' to create "holes" in torpedostreams, which I can dodge through.
Fire: I Never fire 8 torps salvoes unless I'm 100% sure to hit something, it costs a lot of fuel and you cant afford running out of fuel when that enemy ogger might be coming at you with warp 9. I fire 3-5 torps at the time carefully aimed, use your phaser when you get within the 15-20 pts range. (Remember to use pressor if you get too close to him, explosions hurt)
Damage Control: This is something that's very hard to do, especially if you're a new player. Since a ship repairs BOTH its hull and shield at the same time it's really beneficial to be able to take some damage in the hull and the rests on the shield. The really hard thing is to figure out HOW much damage you can allow on the hull since damage to your hull lowers your maxwarp as well. Of course damage control in the smaller ships, DD, SC is questionable, I've never done it in any other ships than the CA, BB and SB.
Hints: Remember to count the hits inflicted on the opponent. Lets say I fly a cruiser (CA) and I dogfight an enemy cruiser, I hit him with 3 torps (each makes 40 points of damage) + a 20 points phaser I know that he's almost done for (140 points of damage from his total of 200), another 60 points and he buys the farm.
At all times remember to conserve fuel, fuel is more vital that most people realize. A ship without fuel is a sitting duck (more or less). Remember to keep your shields down as much as you can, it saves alot of fuel.
The most important thing tho is keeping one eye at the strategic map, this to avoid enemy oggers and most important to spot cloaked enemy planettakers coming your way.
Position: This is a little different from case to case. If your team is about to take a frontline planet then try to clear that planet from enemies. If there are no enemies around move up a bit and stay between the closest enemy and the planet. Then you have ground to fall back on and buttorp any onrushing defenders.
Core takes is a little different tho, then you should wait for your taker to get ready and together with him and the other escorts move in and push them off the planet. Never rush off to the planet ahead of all the others that will only alert enemy defenders and you will find your- self outnumbered and killed (to no use). Stay between the enemy and your planettaker and remember to 'det' torpedoes heading towards him.
Of course all the above is depending on the situation
When escorting a taker be aggressive (No don't run at warp 9 towards the enemy's buttorps) put pressure on the defenders by shooting torps and phasers. If you're outnumbering the defenders mutualing with them is a good option, but remember the longer it takes to clear a planet the more defenders will arrive.
Hints: After your team has taken the planet it will be very vulnerable so you and your team has to defend it right after the take. This applies especially to AGRI planets which will "pop" very fast, stay close and protect the planet it pays off.
Position: When defending planets the most important thing is to keep track of the enemy planettakers, use the strategic map to keep an eye at cloakers. When you notice an assault against a planet in your sector alert your teammates (use team message line) and move to the planet fast. If the enemy planettaker has escortships with him you have be very good at delaying them so your teammates can get there in time. I prefer to ignore the escort (if I have 1:2+ in odds) and just cloak and go for the carrier. I have found that this slows the planettaker more than if I would have stayed at the planet and tried to dogfight his escort(s).
If alone at a planet that's under assault by multiple enemies, DISTRESS and then DELAY the take, Stay alive, lob torps, phaser, look threatening, the important thing is to get more defenders there in time to stop the take, its unessential who gets the carrier in the end as long as you stop their take.
Hints: When I notice a lonely cloak coming my way I wait with firing at him. I wait for him to make his move towards the planet (remember he's the one running out of fuel) and then I blast him into pieces with phaser and torps.
If you fire like a madman at him wasting all your fuel he will dodge and when he sees that you're out of fuel he goes in and takes/bombs the planet and you cant do shit about it. Remember to keep a cool head, with this tactic I have nailed lots and lots of carriers.
Another thing, when you have fired your torps at the cloaked carrier or over the planet and you score no hits, 'det' your own torps and fire again. Don't let him get that second or two until you can fire again, this might be the thing that saves your planet or not.
Planets: When taking planets you have to choose the most strategic planet to take for your team. The enemy AGRI planets are prime targets since they can produce more armies than an ordinary planet. Other important planets are of course fuel and repair planets in the frontline. Be flexible, if you see that the planet of your choice is too heavily guarded switch to an easier target and get it before they knew what happened.
Ships: Depending a little on what kind of planet you about to take you should chose the ship that's most qualified for the mission. I tend to use the CA when taking frontline planets and the 3rd space planets. When going into their core I usually use the DD because its good maneuverability and feint and dodge my way though while remaining cloaked. For LPS situations the AS ship is probably the best choice. Because of its extra hull you will get that extra half a second to beam down that extra army and that really counts. The AS also has a great cloaking ability. Scouts are perfect in the endgame as well, use the SC to sneak in and drop armies on whatever planets the enemy has left. That will weaken their defenses and give them less armies to use for retaking planets.
When carrying in the CA I help my escorts clear the planet instead of just cloaking, this really speeds up the take and you will be able to take the planet before more defenders can arrive. Learn to dogfight well and use it while you're carrying.Oggers: As soon as you have 2+ kills you are a hot target for enemy oggers, and they'll be coming at you until you're dead. This is when the strategic map comes in real handy, keep an eye at cloakers coming your way and as always alert your teammates that you are carrying and might need help. If there is only 1 cloaker coming at you at the time you will probably manage all by your self, the trick is to NEVER run out of fuel. Basically I keep to 2 simple strategies:
- As I see the cloaker coming my way I remain at speed 3-4 moving slowly away from him, when he gets real close (just about to uncloak) I press maxwarp, turn at a 90 degree angle from him, and use pressorbeam at him (if he has uncloaked) and buttorp him. Try to cripple him instead of just killing him, if you cripple him he will sit damaged in your core and just watch you go for the take without being able to do anything. Remember to 'det' his torps if it looks as if they're going to hit.
- Just cloak and run at a 90 degree angle away from him. The best thing is if you can sneak by him and charge against a planet and take it before he gets there.
Hints: Remember to cloak when you go in to take the planet, if you're not enemy pressors and tractors will pull you out of orbit and they'll shoot you and your valuable armies into atoms.
If you are moving in towards an enemy planet and an enemy comes acing towards you firing all that hes got, slow down let him waste all his fuel at a target he believes is orbiting the planet. When his torps has passed move in and take the planet.
If I see a torpstream coming right at me while I'm beaming down I quickly raise my shield, 'det' them and continue beaming down, this might give me that extra second I need to finish the planettake instead of getting blasted right away.
There is a neat trick that might work from time to time. If I'm moving in towards a planet cloaked and the defender starts to fire torps at the planet (hoping for the lucky shot) I 'det' the single torp and he usually thinks that was a hit on me and fires all hes got at that spot, then move in and get the planet before he understands that he's been had.
I mentioned earlier that speed is important, always make sure that you know where you are going even BEFORE you have picked up armies. When I'm moving back to pick up armies at our rear planets I check the enemy planets to see how many armies they have defending. This really saves a lot of time when you know where you are going at same moment as when you have picked up.
When the enemies are getting down to less than 6 planets and you see that your team has a advantage, its time to choose the enemies LPS. This can of course be determined earlier but its hard sometimes to take exactly those planets that you want. The LPS should not be the enemy homeworld or a fuel planet if it can be avoided, the further away from the homeworld the better. Why? you might ask. First, all killed enemy ships start close to the homeworld which makes it very hard to get, second don't leave them a fuel planet where they can refuel their empty tanks.
When an enemy carrier has taken a planet and you arrive 2 seconds too late to do anything about it (and you're carrying yourself) there is a trick that might work. Fly at maxwarp against the enemy planettaker as if you are about to ogg him, cloak when you get into the same screen as him. This might scare him away from the planet and then you quickly reduce your speed move in and take the planet before he knows that he's been cheated.
Ship: Chosing the ship is a little depending on the target, I mostly use the cruiser (CA) because it's torps and phaser are more powerful than the destroyer (DD). SCs are really neat to ogg with too but then you have to use a little different tactic.
Timing: Picking the time and opportunity is 50% of the ogg. Usually the best time is when the person has his mind at other things, like dogfighting or picking up armies.
Conducting (with CA): If there is no real hurry I pick my target and move to a spot that isn't too far away from him, then I wait for the right time to move in. Then I cloak and move in at him at maxwarp, if I see that he hasn't spotted me (he's not fleeing) I keep at maxwarp just until before I uncloak. Then when uncloaking I get him with my tractorbeam and hit him with the phaser and torps. Remember to 'det' his incoming torps this will get you the last inch all the way in on him, this to get him in your explosion if you haven't got him already.
If he sees me while I'm moving in and he starts moving away I slow to warp 4-5, this to make me able to dodge his torps. I then chase him down while switching between maxwarp and warp 4-5. Keep a good look at your fuel, you have to have about 2000 left to be able to finish the ogg.
Conducting (with SC): The SC ogger has to be more patient, the best time to ogg in a SC is when the taker is just about to start orbiting. Hang around the planet he's about to take (Stay cloaked and circle at low-medium speed) and when he moves in to take your rush in and kill him. If you're a bit lucky the escorts will blow you up on him as well
Another good opportunity to SC ogg a taker is when your defenders have scared him off from a take and are chasing him back towards his core your approach him from the opposite direction as his pursuers and you will be able to catch him a bit off guard or without fuel.
Hints: Sometimes I chose just to neutralize a player that I know is carrying by just keeping track of him and whenever he moves to the left to find a way through I move to the left flank cutting him off etc etc. Sooner or later he gets careless and might gamble and go for a planet anyway and then he's all yours.
When ogging a starbase you will probably need the whole team or a large part of it. The key to a successful baseogg is coordination and determination.
Coordination: The best thing is to use the message line and call for a baseogg, like: "get in position for a baseogg sync with Rf". Then its the player Rf that calls the ogg, when he cloaks and moves in so does does all the others. It's really important that the player that is leading the ogg waits for all to get in position, if the timing is really good and enough oggers get through the base will probably be at warp 1 or maybe even dead.
Conducting: I use 2 different tactics when ogging a base, either I conduct a ordinary ogg, uncloak, tractor, phaser and torps or I try to get all the way into the base (on top of him) and then uncloak. By doing the latter you will surely get him in your full explosion (100 pts of damage) plus any torps/phasers you can fire before you die.
Repeat the coordination and conducting phases until the base is dead. If the defence around the base gets too thick there might be a good idea to abort the ogg, there is no point in giving away kills unless you can get through to the base.
Hints: There is always a good idea if your team combine the ogg with 1 or 2 plinkers, this to keep the base attention on other things than the strategic map.
Do not lock on to the base when you're about to ogg, your ship will automagically slow down as to dock (even tho it's an enemy ship) and you might not get all the way into the base because of that.
As a basedefender you have to be real observant for cloaked enemy ships and be quite handy with the phaser and you have to be willing to sacrifice yourself for the base.
Positioning: I want my defender to be at my side or at one of the sides just infront of me. This will enable me to use the pressor/tractor on him so I can dodge torps and he can help me 'det' a few torps now and then. The worst thing is people hiding behind the base thinking its some kind of indestructable fortress.
Ships: When playing as a basedefender you have to be careful with your fuel consumption, I try to fly the cruiser (CA) or destroyer (DD) because they have a better fuel recoverance rating than a battleship (BB).
Hints: If the base is really hurt you can help him by towing him towards a homeplanet so he can repair.
If you stay real close to the base you can help him 'det' enemy torps when he's getting ogged, the hard thing with this is to avoid blowing up on your base.
As soon as you get the chance refuel at the base (if you need it) and always try to have full fueltanks before each new oggwave.
Try to have a few players breaking up the wave a bit ahead of the base, instead of just sitting at the base and wait for them, a combination of both seem to work best.
Tactics: I prefer to look at bombing as 'initial' and 'non-initial'. The initial bombing is the first stage in a new game when your side has to bomb all the enemy planets, the planets will then contain around 30 enemy armies or so (this might vary from server to server). The non-initial bombing is the continuous bombing that occurs during a game, where the purpose is to keep the enemy planets clean from armies.
Ship: This is the part when it comes to personal preferences and of course the time in the game. In the initial phase of the game I play the assaultship (AS) mostly because of its excellent bombing capability, but also because when the enemy planets have close to 30 armies it hurts to be orbiting.
After all the enemy planets have been bombed its time to switch to the non-initial bombing tactic, this is when your team has 1 person dedicated as a lone bomber keeping the enemy short of armies. At this stage I fly the scoutship (SC), its great speed makes it perfect for the job. When playing the SC bomber role try to keep away from the enemy ships, your role is to bomb NOT to give away kills to the other team.
Hints: When moving in to bomb a planet cloak, the reason for this is the same as when taking planets, you don't want enemy ships to pull you out of orbit when you are bombing.
When playing the scout-bomber be smart and use the scouts great speed and maneuverability to feint your opponents. Pretend to be heading for one planet (you are cloaked of course) and then when the defenders come racing, switch direction and move to the alternative target and bomb it. Then when they come at you again you do the same thing again, staying out of the enemies tractor range is critical.
The same sneak tactics apply to bombing as those to planettaking, cloak and feint your opponents. Be smart don't give away kills just to bomb that extra army unless the other team is real short of armies. If they have no armies they can have all the kills in the world.
Note) When defending armies at your own rear planets you have to take care of that enemy scout, either by just controlling the space and not letting him bomb or by ogging him. The ogging part is pretty easy, the key is to get him in your tractor beam. As soon you get him in the tractor start phasering him to death, don't waste fuel on torps because they will surely miss. Remember to 'det' his torps when you are ogging him.
When playing a starbase you can be a asset to your team or a pain in the ass. The worst thing is a base that needs 3+ permanent defenders all the time and still needs to go and repair every now and then, all you do then is occupy a slot in your team and are more a burden to the team than an asset. A good baseplayer should be able to manage with 1 defender, unless he's being heavily ogged.
Positioning: I have seen everything from bases "idling" in the core to real frontline bases, what is best can probably be debated for years. I think the base helps the team better if he plays an aggressive role, I try to place myself at the middle planet of our frontline together with 1 defender. There I can help my team with refueling, refitting and spacecontrol.
Plinkage: This can be really annoying for a base, this is when your defender(s) are really useful. Use your tractor and pressor beam on your defending ships (of course you can use enemy ships as well), this combined with your warp 2 will really help you in dodging those torps.
If you are under heavy plinkage (2 or more ships) it hurts to be 'detting' all the incoming torps, sometimes it might be better to suck a few torps rather than to 'det' them all. Try to 'det' the first torps at maximum range, this might open up a hole in the torpstream and then dodge through, all this depends on the situation.
Don't get too engrossed in dodging plinkers so that you miss the 4 cloaked oggers coming in at you, keep a good look at the strategic map.
Oggers: When playing starbase you have to keep a good look at the other team to see if they are preparing for a baseogg, and if so call upon your defenders before its too late. There are some signs that might help you in predicting when a baseogg is imminent.
- If the enemy team are killflat (or almost).
- You notice that the enemy SC has stopped bombing and are sorta "waiting" instead of bombing.
- There are enemy ships spread out in a nice semi-circle around you.
- When a large part of the enemy team are cloaking at the same time near you (at this time its probably too late).
First when you are under heavy ogging the most important thing is to NEVER get wtemped, if you do get wtemp you have probably used the phaser and plasma too frequently. I try not to fire the phaser unless I'm pretty sure that I'll hit something.
I try to keep a neverending stream of torps in the air all the time this to help my defenders to find the cloaked vessel before he gets too close. This combined with a few plasmas is usually enough to get 2-3 of the oggers out of business.
Then when the first enemy ship uncloaks I hit him with the pressor, this will give me higher speed and make it harder for the others to hit me with their torps, and of course I don't want his explosion all over me.
Now the hard part begins, try not to panic and phaser at the closest enemy and detting all that is fired at you, keep firing at the other nearby cloaks while dodging or detting the pressored enemy torps (I never said basing was easy). All of the above depends on how synchronized the oggers are, if they are really synced you will take a serious beating no matter how good you are. The important thing is to survive the first wave so that you can get more defenders there to defend you. Remember to send distress to your team so that they can see your status if you're hurt.
Hints: Even tho the starbase is the most powerful ship and can take a real beating, be cautious and don't go too deep into enemy space unless you have defenders at your side. It's been so many times that I've seen a good base get plinked to death in enemy space after his defenders got blown away. Ie know your limits.
Help damaged teammates by tractoring them out of danger and by letting them repair at you. Don't do this unless you're sure that you wont get him blown up all over you.
Don't steal kills from the other players of your team, you can't do anything with your kills so let the other players get the kill instead.
Q) When playing a LPS-game, Why shouldn't I bomb AGRI planets close
to my own LPS/homeworld? (this is within reason, if the planet
has 8+ armies bomb it down to somewhere around 5-7 armies)
A) Because when your last planet pops you will get 1-3 armies, then you should bomb the closest planets with a assaultship (AS) and try to get them down to 1-3 armies defending, then you can take the planet even tho you had so few armies. If you bomb continuously the AGRI planets will pop back up to 4 armies in no time.
Note) This goes for the offensive side as well, pick up armies of the planets closest to your enemies, this to prevent them from bombing the planet to less that 4 armies. In this case it doesn't matter if you get killed while carrying.
Q) How do I know if a player with kills have picked up armies or not?
A) First, if you look at the strategic map and see a player with kills orbiting one of his own planets with armies its a pretty sure sign that he has picked up armies. The best way tho is to keep track of those players that has kills and check the armies at planet he's moving to with 'i' then you see if he's picking up or not. Ships that pickup armies also tend to blink at the galactic when they pickup.
Note) Set your galactic and tactical map to show resources.
Q) how do I get phaser lock on cloaked players?
A) The key is the strategic map, set the galactic updates to 'frequently' then when you get the update (the ships move on the galactic) you phaser at the cloaker.
I used to phaser at the galactic screen but I had trouble moving the cursor back to the tactical screen and maintain the lock. So now I watch the galactic for the update and phaser at the tactical and that seem to work really well now.
Q) Why should i help anyone else in my team, it doesn't give me any
A) The team that plays together and help each other will win in the end. If you help other players you will soon find that they will come to your aid when you need it. DI-scummers will get less and less help and in the end he wont get any help at all.
Note) I have seen teams with several high ranked players play as individuals and lose BIG. Keep your team together and use the team message-line to communicate and you will win.
Well I hope this has helped you in some way to improve your netrek playing. It's not sure that all this will work for you but I think what I have mentioned in this document covers the basics and holds some advanced hints/help as well.
Don't argue with a fool because he might be doing the same thing!
This might seem unneccessary, but I'm writing this for the novice player(s) as to the experienced ones. So here's a few expressions used by players and what they mean.
Spacecontrol: This term is often used when assistance is needed near a planet, either because the enemy is preparing an assault or that your team needs help clearing the enemy planet from enemy ships.
Twink: Often used by "experienced" players to name newbie players. I try not to use it myself (we were all there once).
LPS: Last Planet Stand. The enemies last planet which should be the worst possible one defending. Far away from the enemy homeworld, and preferably not an AGRI or FUEL planet.
Scummer: A person that are mainly playing to get high stats and doesn't really care about his own team. This type of player is also known as DI-scummer.
d++: This a very cryptic but useful way to describe that an enemy player is carrying armies. This particular case (d++) would mean that the enemy ship with the letter d has picked up 2 armies. A + indicates an army. b++++ would mean that b has picked up 4 armies. This is also used when planets "pop", TAU++ means that there is excess armies at TAU.
Pop: This is a expression used when planets create new armies. This is often used to alert your teammates that one of the enemy (or friendly) planets has armies that should be taken care of. This might mean bombing or picking up (Ex."tau popped").
@: The '@' sign is used instead of 'at' because its shorter to type. "tau @ 5" is one way to indicate that there is excess armies at the planet 'tau'.
DI: Means "Damage Inflicted"
Ogg(ing): When you OGG someone, it means that you try to kill a certain player by all means without caring about your own ship, it's more or less a suicide attack. This attackform is mainly used against other players that carry armies or that are potential carriers (see Ogging further down for more info).
Plock: A shorter word for Phaser Lock.
Core: The 4 planets closest to the homeworld and of course the homeworld itself.
Potential Carrier: A enemy player that has kills. Make sure to track this player to see if he picks up and then announce it to the rest of your team (se above).