Table of Contents:
I'll keep this short, because I'm sure you're not reading this to hear about me ^^
I'm 27, married, and a stay at home dad to my 3 year old son and 4 year old daughter. I played SuperDaddy on ANI Joymus and co-founded the IronTempest brigade, which is still active currently as I write this. I've played video games since I was 8, when the NES first came out, and been into MMO's from Meridian 59's inception till the end of my time at SCO. I've since ceased nearly all of my game playing for the sake of my family and kids. If you actually want to know more, you can always find me on Myspace.
I placed this section first because I believe first and foremost, that the strength of a player does not lie in their stats, equipment or gaming ability, but in how they affect those around them. Anyone can be a complete ass and a good fighter, but even the best fighter will fall without good people around them. It takes a true fighter to earn the respect of his friends as well as his enemies.
So I'll break it down into a few guidelines:
1: Behind every gear is a person.
What this means, is to always keep in mind that every player, regardless of gender or location, is a human being. We have good days, bad days, off days, and ZOMG days. So don't jump down someones throat just because they are getting out of hand, or because they said something you don't like. One example: Someone was ranting and raving and cussing everyone in the game, and rather than yell right back at him, I gave him the benefit of the doubt and had a civilized conversation with him. Turns out his brother had died in Iraq a few days prior and he wasn't having an easy time dealing with it. Keep that in mind before you decide to tear someone a new one.
2: You get what you give.
Remember when you first started? Remember the first person who was awesome to you, and helped you get rolling in the game? Now, remember the first elitist ass who ragged on your lack of knowledge in something, as opposed to helping you out? Of course you do, we all do. You get what you give in this game, if you give grief, you get it by the ton. I'm not even close to religious or anything, but "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." applies to this game. Even simple things like saving weapons with good fixes you find that aren't for your gear type to pass out, or even giving out event items (x-mas presents come to mind) can have benefits you hadn't even thought of.
3: You didn't start out knowing everything, and neither does anyone else.
This one burns me when I see it. When I see someone relatively new ask a question about the game, only to have some person rag on them for not knowing it. The very same person that's making fun of him was a beginner at one time too, yet acts like every aspect of the game should be common sense that just magically appears in your brain when you install SCO.
So when someone asks you a "noob" or exceedingly novice question about the game, just suck it up and answer them, we didn't know it at one point either.
4: Being on the opposing nation doesn't make people evil.
Your enemies are players just like you, and they play to have fun just like you, so exercise some moderation when you're in a one-sided fight and let the little guy win sometime. When you treat your enemy with respect, you receive it in turn. (Having big boom boom guns goes a long way in achieving that end too o.~) The best way to think of it is to compare it to paintball, you go out with your friends, get on opposing teams, shoot the heck out of each other, and go home still friends.Plus, it adds a whole new dimension when you attach a personality and familiarity to a name that's trying to kill you. ^^
If you need actual weapon stats, you can visit Siegemode.com. I however, will be relaying pros, cons and uses of the various A-gear standard and advanced weapons. Just for the sake of organization, we'll go from highest prob/lowest damage, to lowest prob/highest damage.
Cody: At first glance it seems like complete crap; however it does have a few niche uses. Useful for chasing high-evade i-gears in the air. Not useful for much else.
Pros: High probability, High distance. Pre-75 Airsiege friendly.
Cons: Small clip, Extremely poor DPS, not Siege friendly.
Heat: Now these I do love, despite the low dps they are quite versatile. (and HUGE!) You can load them up with prob to spank evade gears while in siege, or go a more dps route for a weapon that's useful when you're out of SP and can't cast Concentration. Very effective if you know how to use them.
Pros: High probability, Huge clip, Faster innate reatk than cannons/smashes. Siege/75+Airsiege friendly.
Cons: Fairly poor dps, low distance. Barrel size can obstruct view in Siege mode.
Mass Drive: Jackhammers & Mega Drives. I actually prefer these to Heats. It offers higher DPS with only a slight drop in probability. They also look pretty snazzy, but the sound kills me >.<. These, along with cannons should be your bread and butter weapons. Also very much versatile.
Pros: Great probability, huge clip, faster innate reatk than cannons/smashes. Siege/75+ Airsiege friendly. Decent DPS.
Cons: Low distance. DPS leaves a bit to be desired. Sounds like wuss.
Dualists: Big Mounts & Twin Launchers. Probably the least useful weapon type in our arsenal, it fires 2x1, so no airsiege past 75, and they also used to have higher base damage than Supremes, but they actually made it lower in a patch. So if you can find a good use for them, more power to you.
Pros: Ok damage, Highest distance, Pre-75 Airsiege friendly.
Cons: Small clip, Damage not comparable to 1x1 of same type, Not siege friendly, low base probability. Not very versatile.
[It's true: Big Mounts are pretty lame. Twin Launchers are low-level dualists, so don't even worry about those. The only reason to use 2x1 guns is when using Siege or Air Siege before getting +1 continuous fire. And honestly, if you're using pre-+1 Air Siege you should use Codies for the base prob. - Archy]
Supremes: Also known as MagicThunder at lower levels. These are an A-Gear's pride and joy at later levels. At the earlier levels, you won't have good enough Concentration to compensate for the low probability so you're better off with Mass Drives or Heats. They are still quite effective however, but they really shine later on.
Pros: Great DPS, decent clip size, good distance, teeny barrel doesn't obstruct view, sounds nifty, Siege/75+Airsiege friendly.
Cons: Low base probability.
BigSmash: My favorite gun in the entire game, though not as destructive as you'd think ^^ More or less a Supreme on crack, HUGE dps, but the poorest probability of all our weapons. They are, however friggin scary when carded/fixed right. They are invaluable in duels and tourneys though when you're fighting non evade gear types 1v1.
Pros: ZOMG DPS, Decent clip, Good distance, Can be downright intimidating, Siege/75+ Airsiege friendly.
Cons: Lowest base probability, Barrel is HUGE (Pro and Con 8P), Very difficult to ench high prob and still be effective.
[BigSmashes are cool, and by "cool" I mean "totally sweet." Definitely the best weapon for laying the smackdown on anything that isn't evasion-heavy or far away. The catch is that they do need some prob to be great all-around weapons. - Archy]
Guards : Mainly used for air fighting and evade chasing. They take longer to come out and longer between salvos, so when you need concentrated damage quickly, they aren't the way to go. However they are very useful for dogfighting, they have 11 valid angle which means easy locks, and the 6x1 is great for shooting bundles throughout a barrel roll (right click and roll, they will fire as you roll) so you can still deal damage while being on defense. Add prob for chasing evade gears (even i-gears can't outrun 1000m/s ^^).
Pros: Great for air fighting, high VA, high base prob, high speed.
Cons: 6x1 = Longer firing time & reload, Low base DPS, Must keep lock for entire salvo to hit.
Terols: The closest thing we have to a boom boom advanced weapon. 4x1 firing means more damage in a shorter time period, as well as less time between reloads. Also has higher base dps, so enchantments are more effective. Still has high prob, but lowered VA.
Pros: Good DPS, 4x1 Firing comes out and reloads faster, high base prob, high speed.
Cons: Lower VA, Must keep lock for entire salvo to hit.
[Both Guards and Terols have the same base prob. - Archy]
The enchantment system in SCO is pretty versatile, and there are ways to make the best of it.
Firstly, the good probability and reatk fixes all give 15%, however probability cards are 2.75% each and reatk cards add 2% each. So if you're going for a mix, make sure to get your reatk from the fixes, then card what prob you need.
I'll list my favorite evil weapons as examples, aside from that, you can figure the rest out on your own :)
Boomboom Gun: Sniper BigSmash of Sniper with 9 reatk cards - EEEVIL, but the hit rate kills its potential (absolutely massacres a/m/b-gears at close range) This gun will make people RUN I kid you not.
Sniper Cannon: Longbow Supreme of Exocet with 6 Range cards, Toss on some item shop goggles and you can pick off gears effectively from almost 2km away. Very very useful in den fights to push forms back and to keep A-Gears out of siege mode and moving, also reallly annoying to the receiving end, and you -will- get accused of hacking with this setup. One of my more fun toys ^^
[Good luck getting Gpot goggles in this post-cashshopalyptic nightmare world. You'll have to settle for secondhand goggles until the shop comes back up. If you're reading this after the item shop comes back: Dudes, what's it like in the future? I bet it's kickin'. - Archy]
Now these next to are very similar, so I'll lump them together.
Heat with pure reatk, Supreme with Prob/reatk mix with reatk cards. Now you'd think with that setup, that they would be identical, and you'd be wrong. The supreme still won out on DPS, and has just a smidge lower probability.
Heat with reatk fixes and prob cards. This was my I-Gear spanker, could hit nearly anything and also do halfway decent damage, and was still very useful when dogfighting with no SP or Concentration. Kills any other gear type too slowly to be useful though.
Bundles: Bundles are best used with copious amounts of the same thing. They have an innately high probabilty, so you don't need to patch that up too much. So I'd suggest going all the way with reatk (1v1 vs A-Gears) attack (all-purpose) or probability (evade chasing) Mixed bundles aren't as effective as mixed standards unfortunately, and reatk isn't so big a deal as it is for missiles, since your chances for lock-on will be spread out enough to compensate.
If you want armor stats, go to Siegemode.com, this are just general guidelines to each type.
Pre-43, go with whatever you can get your hands on. 43 and up, read on ^^
Schneider (43, 53, 63, etc)
One of the most underrated armors, high energy, lower shield armor. Has the smallest minimum range of all the armor types, you can siege things that are almost on top of you effectively with this armor. Very effective against m-gears who try to sit on your head when you're sieging them. Stats aren't too hot though, looks like a UFO ^^
Pros: Looks nifty, highest energy (though not by much), smallest minimum range.
Cons: Outdated very quickly, Low energy/shield total.
Doublecoat (45, 55, 65, etc)
Most widely used armor, period, has the hugest shield of all types, and highest total among all of the types too. Has the highest minimum range, you'll sometimes find yourself unable to hit targets that are not really that close to you in siege. Also a very fat armor, and can obstruct your view a bit while flying, and is easy to accidentally snare yourself with.
Pros: Huge energy/shield total, Highest shield
Cons: Very large, Highest minimum range.
Grizzly (48, 58, 68, etc)
Grizzly is the defense armor for a-gears, and before level 68 or so, I'd say stick with doublecoat. Once you get enough stat points to pump defense to a decent level, then the Grizzly armor really comes into it's own. However you have to ridiculously overdo it on defense to make it truly effective. Nice compact armor though, has a fairly short minimum range too. This and the Blazer have the lowest innate shield/energy total out of all 4 types.
Pros: Defense bonus unique to armor, Compact, Small Minimum range.
Cons: Low energy/shield total, not so hot until high levels.
Blazer (48, 58, 68, etc)
More or less a gag armor, looks kind of like an aeroplane. Has the same stat total as a Grizzly, and adds an evasion bonus in leu defense.. However, a-gears get a 1 (yes ONE!) in agility, so evasion at any level of effectiveness isn't an option. Maybe if you added every stat to agility and f lew around with level 1 engines, and no attack/defense/shields/spirit, you could hit a level of evasion to actually dodge a shot. Not too effective though 8P
Pros: None really, looks snazzy
Cons: Evasion is a wasted bonus, low base energy/shield total.
Now here's where the real fun starts, A-Gears have an extremely versatile skill set, and also has many skills that you won't be able to live without if you try other gear types. We'll go over the generic and obvious skills first. If you want the details and level ranges of the specific skills, visit Siegemode.com.
Fire Shot: Adds a +% damage to your weapon. Pretty nifty, but kind of costly in SP, either keep it at level 3, or bump it all the way up and raise your spirit. Useful when you know you won't die soon, or during tourneys/duels. Also useful for dogfighting, as you need every damage boost you can get in the air.
[I like to pump up Fire Shot enough so I get the long-duration version. That way it lasts longer when I'm grinding of camping a gate. Granted, it costs more SP, but it is generally more cost-effective, which is good. Just, uh, make sure you have more than 500 SP. - Archy]
Missile Shot: Again, useful if you have full SP, are in a duel/tourney, or are defending/attacking a mothership. Otherwise it doesn't really add enough damage to be used constantly.
Defense Up: AWESOME at higher levels with a defense build and grizzly armor. Not so useful outside of that.
[I use Defense Up when I war and I don't think it's ever saved me from death. It's definitely not worth using unless you've got a Grizzly on, and most A-Gears do not. - Archy]
Evasion Up: Useful if you're an evasion build, which you probably aren't 8p Useful for fully buffing before a duel/tourney (even 5% can save your butt sometimes)
Concentration: Most useful out of all the generic skills. Can be used to make a pure damage cannon actually hit something. Or to just pop on if you find yourself against a high-evasion target. Prioritize this over Fire Shot, because damage doesn't matter if you can't make any of it actually hit them.
[I definitely agree with making this your highest-priority buff when doing anything, even if you're not attacking a full-evasion gear. If you're trying to pick off an opponent at long range, Concentration can help extend your reach ever-so-slighty, which can make a difference. - Archy]
Now the fun stuff. We'll start out with support abilities first.
Ground Accelerator: FUN skill, and useful for short sprits for cover or dodging bombs, also useful for Zoom Fighting B-gears (Tips & Tricks section) It's a toggle so if you fight on the ground a lot, keep it handy.
Damage Absorption: One of the more underrated A-Gear skills. It halves damage from bumps and thumps. It also only costs 15 SP. As an A-Gear, you'll either be on the ground or flying close to it (or at least you SHOULD) so this skill is invaluable when you have spare SP for it, it lasts a decent length of time too. Also a must for goofing around HKH and feathering around under the trees >8)
Remedy: This skill is a lifesaver, pure and simple, and has wayyy more uses than just topping off your shields. Yes, it's kind of expensive SP-wise, but it does have its uses. One, it takes just about as long to heal as barrier covers you. So if you're in hot water, pop a heal and a barrier and possibly a kit or two while you can. A really evil use though, is in duels with A-Gears. Most A-Gears forget they have a heal when you 1v1 them, and this can more or less guarantee you an advantage during the fight, again, just use it with barrier so it's not obvious, and gives them the idea to do it too.
[I once did this when sieging another A-Gear at long range. I was about to die but remembered my Remedy; I used it and it bought me enough time to beat that other AG. So yes, that trick really works. - Archy]
Barrier: Sweeeet sweet barrier, the ping pong ball of doom. This will save your butt (or at least preserve it for a few seconds) time after time, also great for sprints and getaways, just fire it off and fly. Great for making B-Gears hate you more too. However don't fire it too early, because everyone knows what it looks like, and knows to just wait a bit for it to go away, then go in and spank you. After you eat enough bombing runs, you'll get the timing of it ^^. Also, you can use barrier while dogfighting, but it takes TONS of skill and is very very hard to pull off. You have to perfect the bump landing to get it to work. Read Tips & Tricks for a bump landing.
Camouflage: Takes a skill unlock card to get, so I have no experience with it. From the description though, it looks useful to toggle on and off to break locks and to just be annoying/sneaky, but the no moving thing just kills it.
Shield Paralyze: Stops you from healing shields and using shield kits, an A-Gear's revenge for kitters. Takes an unlock card though, so I haven't gotten to play with it. Use it on an enemy A-Gear then remedy in front of them for style points.
[I've used Shield Paralyze with mixed results. While it is theoretically hilarious, it can be hard to follow it up with a butt-kicking. If you want a reliable way to get your laughs, do the Shield Paralyze + Remedy thing. - Archy]
Snare Shot: Second most hated skill in the game, only topped by Purify. Knocks a gear's speed to 75% of its top speed, long enough for just about anyone to eat a hail of missiles. Also great for pranking people, but don't do it more than once or you'll get busted o.~ Also hugely useful during MS fights and SP defenses, toss on an A-X, or hop on an I-Gear's wing and run 'em down. Snare + prob weaponry + A-X = dead runner.
[This is the best damn skill to spam, period. I too have seen plenty of runners die horribly after I snared them and watched chasing missiles ram themselves up said runner's tailpipe. If you're camping an SP, it's also funny to snare approaching gears so you have more time to pump cannon shells into them. - Archy]
Hypershot: Not as great as the name would have you believe, toss on an Omega mount or Crossbow and it's halfway decent, but nothing to write home about, trade your card for a card to unlock Shield paralyze first.
[I've used Hypershot a few times and it is kind of a letdown, and honestly AGs get a screwjob when it comes to finishing move skills. At least there are more than a few instances of the unique needed to make Big Boom useful. I wouldn't get Hypershot unless I had an OM at my disposal, opting instead for Shield Paralyze. - Archy]
Siege Defense: Another underrated skill in the A-Gear's arsenal, it's an instant % reduction in damage, which is -static- meaning it doesn't matter what your defense is, you knock whatever % your level reduces. I've tested it with attack and defense builds. Very very useful as a defense build, as you can swap between siege defense and siege mode to deal damage or soak it whenever need be, it confines you to ground combat to be useful though, which hurts your versatility.
Air Siege: Most fun skill out of all the siege modes, think of it as a SP/sec 0 speed engine, and it also has NO minimum distance due to the reticle hitbox as opposed to the mouse cursor hitbox. Very useful post-75 when it gets +1 continuous fire. Also has a few techniques for it as well, if you have your mouse cursor over a target, when you hit airsiege you will -snap- to that target and lock on, very very useful for locking onto people as they fly past you. Also remember you can't aim down, so fly low, or hop out of siege when they go under you, or you'll get a missile quite literally up your rear end. Also with good timing you can go through a gate in airsiege mode. More on that in the tips and tricks section. Also do NOT airsiege during a barrel roll, as you'll be in the air, stationary and unable to shoot back, learn the delay between rolling and being able to siege to really show how an A-Gear dogfights.
Siege Mode: The bread and butter skill for A-Gears, also our most damaging and longest attack skill. This is what you wake up in the morning for. Once you get the radar boosts, it only gets better, and supposedly at level 90 something, you get +2 continuous fire, which means 3 times the damage! There's a small delay between when you hit the siege key, and when you can actually fire, so don't just mash siege and your mouse button at the same time. Once you get the timing down, it will enhance your mobility and reaction times, and you'll be able to kill people faster because of it ^^. Also, don't forget to pre-target, put your mouse cursor over what you want to shoot THEN hit siege, and your screen will snap to your target and you'll insta-lock on to them. Awesome for surprise attacks.
[The +2 Siege Mode can be obtained at level 92 and requires a Final Skill Opening Card. We think it's probably overpowered, but no one has survived the grind to tell us. - Archy]
Crossbow: ANI's A-Gear unique, very much underrated... It's the best standard for Hypershot aside from the Omega Mount. It has the highest per-shot base damage of any cannon.
[The Crossbow does hit hard, but its prob is worse than for other Supremes and you can't card it for prob. As for the Hypershot thing: I wouldn't get HS unless I had an OM anyway. But hey, that's just my opinion. - Archy]
Ancient Arrow: BCU's A-Gear unique. Before it got patched it was the ultimate bundle, and I had the privilege of being the only A-Gear on ANI/Joy in my knowledge to have a set :) It had absolutely HUGE damage, a 4x2 firing rate and the VA of a 6x1 bundle, all this along with 100% probability and a decent reload cost. Post patch, I have no experience with. From what I hear though, it's just a mediocre unique which you can enchant a better version of from a regular bundle.
Omega Mount: Everyone wants it, and it has single-handedly burned people out on the game. It's nifty, and will give you the biggest Hypershot damage of any weapon. Don't set your heart on it though, because there's a 1 in 3 chance of getting it when you hit level 79. If you put too much stock in it, it'll make you quit the game. Other than that, not really useful for much else besides maybe if you left your airsiege below the level 75 one, then it might be good for seeing big numbers while dogfighting.
[SuperDaddy says there's a one in three chance of getting the OM from the 79 mission, but my personal experience suggests it's closer to one in Screw You. Even if you do get it, you still have to suffer the indignity of grinding to 80 before you can use it. You have been warned. - Archy]
A-X: My favorite engine in the game, I used it to the exclusion of all others except a 0 speed for certain situations. It's faster in the air, and on land than any engine until you hit the mid 90's. It's only downside is craptastic turning radius. Very useful for outrunning Power Arrows in the air, and B-Gears on the ground. Also very evil when combined with 75+ airsiege and an attack build. GET ONE!
Shield Panzer: The best A-Gear armor from whatever level you can use it, up until about 75 or so. Has ALL shield bonuses, which means you can self-heal every last bit of your life. No more sitting around with 800 energy and full shields, hoping an m-gear spots you flaming. Also has a minimum range nearly identical to a schneider, and people will think a noob is spanking them. Absolute best armor for an attack build in my eyes.
The rest of the uniques, I'd consider to be just novelties, I've listed the useful ones ^^
Now here is where being an A-Gear gets kinda complicated, if you really want to streamline your build, you have to build around a specific goal and CPU. The upside is an optimal allocation of stats, and better performance from the same resources. The downside however, is you have to restat every 10 levels or so after 60.
In my eyes, there are two main builds, and the rest are more or less experimental still.
Without spirit A-Gears are nothing, so spirit at a certain level is a MUST. From the moment you get the +1 continuous fire Siege Mode and onward, you'll absolutely have to have a big tank of SP. Prior to about level 60, it's your own preference, you have plenty of time to experiment with how much spirit you want, and get used to budgeting it. However post 60, I recommend you have at least 500 SP which equates to 63 spirit from stats and CPU, this will give you a decent store of SP, as well as an increased regen rate. Everything else can go into the stat(s) of your choice.
A-Gears, unfortunately require 3 stats for engines, one being shields, which is an absolute waste of stats. So you have two choices I'd say for stat builds in regards to engines, either a level 50 engine build for the A-X, which is well worth it at higher levels. Or a stat build for the level 30 0 speed and 400m/s slow and fast engines (I think >.<) Or, if you have no problem with being as slow as a turtle, but want to be a giant friggin war machine, go for level 1 engine stats and completely cut out shields.
A-X Stats: Attack Defense Shield
Level 34 400 Boost engine stats: Attack Defense Shield
I'll make this short and sweet, fuel is CHEAP, and once you hit the heavier armors, you won't run out even with 2x consumption, keep your loadage at as close to 79% as you can get it (I think, whichever is Heavy! but below Very Heavy!)
If you're going with a level 1 engine build, you can even keep it at just under 100% since the boost speed isn't much faster anyhow, and you'll have even more stats to work with ^^
[If you do use a stat distribution that's radical enough to make you use a slow engine, try to hitch a ride on an I-Gear whenever you go anywhere. It's like taking a taxi, and you should tip accordingly. - Archy]
Attack builds are for people who like seeing killmarks, and dislike not being able to kill anyone they target. However an attack build requires even more presence of mind on the battlefield, because even though you have a gigantic life pool, you still die pretty fast if you're not on your toes. If you're using a non-level 1 engine build, I'd recommend using one of the +spirit/+defense CPU's (with the majority being in spirit) as spirit and defense are 2 and 3 per increase, attack is 4, so 20 points from a CPU does more good in a harder to raise stat. Use the CPU to get your spirit and engine stats, ie say you need 63 spirit, get your spirit to 43, then use a +20 spirit CPU, not 63 natural then +20 from CPU. For armor you'll want either the Shield Panzer or Doublecoat for your level, the defense bonus from a grizzly is moot at this point. You also have a piercing and small probability bonus, so you can afford to be just a tiny bit shorter on prob than a defense build. With the right weapons, this build can kill just about anything. Also diabolical when used with an A-X and the 75 airsiege, learn to fly beforehand though, and learn to barrel roll everything before you try to fight multiple people in the air.
[This is a great build for anyone who doesn't have the bonus points for a full defense build. It lets you grind quickly, dish out epic ass-beatings, and getting your ass killed all of the time teaches you to pay attention to your surroundings and to use strategy. Plus, the chicks totally dig the Doublecoat guarder. - Archy]
The most evil, diabolical, frustrating, versatile and item/buff dependent build. Same as an attack build, but with all the points in defense. Now in the right hands it's downright evil, but it only works after level 78 or so I'd say, preferably at 82 when you get a new defense buff, and with siege defense final unlocked. This build is very mediocre without support, but devastating with a good team behind you, and it's also very weak against M-Gears with purify. However if you do it right, it's nearly invincible. I've tanked entire MS and SP defenses with this, I'm talking 20 or 30 people shooting at me to the point that they give up to shoot at stuff they can kill. And until an m-gear with purify comes along, you can pick off whomever you want at your leasure, as long as they are within your base radar range. Engine build is the same as above, just enough for the base stats for the engine of your choice, the rest into defense. Grizzly is a must, as well as item shop defense charms, and the highest level m-gear you can sweet talk into keeping you company. M-gears are the bane of this build, defense vs defense fights are a joke, and they can knock all your buffs off if they have purify. If you see an M-Gear, get someone to kill it for you. Keep shield and energy kits, because you WILL get shield paralyzed, and also SP kits handy too, as you'll be swapping out Siege and Siege Defense constantly, and you also need to keep your defense buff up as well.
[This is the build that turns A-Gears into legends. No one I know ever talks about SuperDaddy, the guy who killed a bunch of dudes fairly quickly with his attack build. No, everyone talks about SuperDaddy, the guy who took on an entire nation and won and then went on to be a totally cool dude. - Archy]
You can't learn combat from a book, you can only get combat prowess from going out and getting your hands dirty. The only thing that can teach a true combat mindset and mentality is cold hard experience. So go fight, get shot up, use your brain, don't be afraid of looking stupid (I humped gears on a regular basis, you can't get much stupider looking than that o.~) and most importantly, HAVE FUN!
This is more or less the art of knowing what is going on around you at all times. Always keep your eyes open, never focus on one thing too hard. Know how many enemies/allies are around you, what gear types they are, what they are all doing, and planning your actions accordingly. Learn the names and fighting styles of the specific gear types and prioritize your targets accordingly. Always keep an eye on your radar, especially as an A-Gear, because you can catch bombers sneaking up behind you. More importantly, know the strengths, weaknesses and limitations of your gear. No one gear in this game can handle everything that gets thrown at it.
The lesser known style of fighting :) Tenacity means never giving up, no throwing the towel in and going home, however it also doesn't mean to just keep spawning and dying over and over for no reason. Instead of giving up, try to think of new ways to overcome an obstacle. Just because someone beat you doesn't mean they will always beat you. If your maps are getting raided, don't just charge head on and die, warp into maps behind the raiding party and pick off reinforcements, or take pot shots at the mob and make them break rank to chase you. Death is a part of this game, and you -will- die, and quite often, no matter who or what level you are. Adapt and overcome. Eventually you'll earn a reputation for it and people will actually be intimidated when they see you on the field, because they know, that once they see you, you're not gonna leave them alone till they go home.
This comes naturally to me (two kids, plus I'm just built that way ^^), but lots of people have to work at it. Just because you died doesn't mean the end of it. You'd be surprised what kind of fun you can get into if you wait for the right moment to respawn. This also comes into play heavily during MS and SP fights, where you may be sitting in the same spot seeing no action for long periods of time, or be required to coordinate attacks at a particular moment.
Art of the Ambush
Yes, you can be sneaky in a giant flying tank in this game! One trick to use is when you're sneaking, keep your cursor low on the screen, because once you lock someone, they lock you right back about 90% of the time, and you give away your position. A-Gear standards can hit easily up to 1500m or so in air or ground siege, and most radars only show up to 900m or so. Use this to your advantage and hold your fire till they come in range, then target, siege and take them out. You'd be surprised how often you can get the jump on people this way. Also, any map with tunnels or good cover can be great fun for an A-Gear. In cave maps, hide in the bottom in hard to see places, or on the inside wall of a turn *i.e. if you were coming from the other way, stay on the inside part of the turn next to the wall*. This is especially effective in the dens, as they usually won't see you as they go around the corner, and by the time they DO see you, you're already shooting them. This requires you to be very familiar with your radar range and attack range, because if you can see their name, usually they can see yours, and big red names are not so good for ambushes. Try to remember where people usually fly through maps too, and position yourself where they will least expect to bump into you. You can also set impromptu ambushes by using yourself as bait too, for instance, get someone to chase you through a gate, thinking you're running away, use a safe channel, then race to the next map and set up outside the gate in a 0 channel, they will run through the whole map thinking they are chasing you to the next, and BAM. Pre-siege ambushes are the most evil, but more on that in the Tips & Tricks section.
Cover should be in the back of your head constantly when you're fighting people. Be it flying in front of it to pop a missile that's chasing you, to waiting behind it to ambush someone. Find out places to duck/fly behind and places to hide in all the maps and memorize them so you can fly to them without needing the map. Any solid object that you bounce off of can be used for cover. Watch out for pointy terrain though, lots of times missiles will go right through the tips and hit you anyway.
First off, MS and SPs are a whole different ballgame than regular day to day war. There are new rules, and tactics that come into play. Teamwork is paramount, and you must learn to communicate and take/give orders properly to be at all useful in a large-scale conflict. So put your pride aside and listen to the leaders. A greatly organized bad plan will beat out a poorly organized great plan any day. The tactics in each are very much the same, as they revolve around keeping an objective alive for a specific amount of time. Except for maybe one or two tricks you can pull with a SP.
Your job on offense is to hold gates, and to take and hold the maps leading to your objective. You'll be doing loads of squatting, and more than likely won't see a whole lot of action if you're really doing your job. Also be sure to check your flanks and to have a watch on the gate you came in from as well. People are notorious for being smart and all.
During mothership raids, your number 1 priority is to keep the M-Gears alive after a rush, so they can COH people back to the front lines. That is your duty above all others. Anything and everything you do during a MS offense should revolve around keeping your medics alive. Try to find a form, but understand that M-Gears are in high demand and LOTS of people need summoning during this. If there's a sufficient team of A-Gears at the main camp (which should be on a pad, next to the gate you're going in preferably) then you can afford to go cover the rear or help out where needed, be it snaring runners, etc. It's also preferable to make a form of only A-Gears on both sides of the map, so you can watch their positions and HP bars to see if there's trouble.
[This was a hard thing for me to figure out (so hard, in fact, that SuperDaddy had to tell me with this guide). For most of my time on SCO, my main was an I-Gear. When you have an I-Gear, you're basically a front-line fighter. When I switched to using an A-Gear I couldn't figure out what my role during SP raids should be. Now that you have this guide, you don't have to wonder! - Archy]
When taking maps, it'll be your job to be a meat shield so the more mobile and fragile gears can squeeze through the gate without getting shot full of holes, 5 or 6 a-gears popping through a portal before a f ew b-gears will buy enough time for the bombers to get away and start taking out people. If you do make it out of the gate alive, immediately flank the camp, do not fly in the middle and just shoot, fly high and to the side, then come down and around and land behind them, you'll be able to take out a few gears before anyone even knows your there. Also, if you get purified, immediately barrier and try to get your buffs back up, and tell your M-Gear to rebuff if they can.
Defense builds have a different role here, you want to be obvious and blatant about where you are, if you can land IN the gate where they are shooting, it's even better. If you can land and get siege defense up, you'll have lots of people popping off shots at you that would otherwise be going into your friends and actually doing damage. Distraction > Getting kills. After you take the map, position yourself right in front of the gate where you'll be targeted first, so in case there is a rush, you'll be able to soak up a ton of damage while your allies can stay alive longer to deal more damage.
Whatever your build, if you have Hypershot and some free SP, and your map is held with no issue, feel free to try to sneak in and hypershot the MS/SP defense >8)
This is where being an A-Gear gets kinda dull. You are the backbone of the entire defense, and you will spend the vast majority of your time in the map with the MS or SP, sitting in the same spot, watching the same gate. All the while listening to orders and information from the fight a few maps beyond. Your main role will be one of 3 things during a defense:
Squatter: Park your behind near the gate to the next map and get something to drink, you're gonna be here a while. Your job is to take out anyone who gets through the rest of the fighters elsewhere, or tries to sneak into your map. This is where the majority of A-Gears during a defense will be allocated. If anyone makes it past your blockade, make sure they are SNARED before they get out of range, and then alert the map, do NOT take off and give chase. Let the gears guarding the MS/SP directly take care of them.
Snare-whore: Your job is to either fly around solo A-X or fast ONLY, or on the wing of an I-Gear. Staying near the MS or SP, and flying around the map looking for loggers. Your sole purpose is to keep anyone you find snared; this works best in groups, so you can snare and you can take them down as a pack. This is paramount during MS fights to keep B-Gears from hitting the MS too hard, so you need to be able to immobilize and kill quickly.
Rear guard: People are devious, and just because you know they can't enter the gate to your town, doesn't mean they won't come FROM it. This means guarding the gate on the opposite side of the map you expect them to come from. During a large scale defense, you will get attacked from all directions, and having a few gears guarding the gate behind you can be a tide turner. Usually what will happen during MS/SP defenses is an m-gear will log within the map somewhere, log in, COH his form, then log off in quick succession. Then the gears that were summoned attack the MS, then try to die as close to the rear gate as possible (ie the gate to Arlington, or Blackburn). Then wait untill a lull, or a rush, and then spawn from where you least expect it. So guarding your flank is very very important. You won't see much action, but the gears that you DO see will usually be the best pilots of the opposing side, so bring company. Also report EVERYTHING on defense, if you see a gear, if you kill a gear, if a gear gets away, let the entire map know!
Teamwork and Communication
Rambo is a myth, if you try to do anything in this game during a MS or SP by yourself, you'll be sorely dissappointed. Even gears with insane stats get shredded alone in this kinda thing. Organization, Coordination, Teamwork and Communication are the winners of this game. You need to inform your nation of what you're doing, anything of note that happens around you, as well as any observations you may have. Whatever you do, don't try to win the war alone, or try to just bark orders at everyone, all you're gonna do is hurt your side in the long run. Just sit tight, be the best at your role and follow orders.
Positive Mindset and Motivation
You'd be amazed at how much this really matters, and it affects you much more than you'd initially think. I've seen battles that did a complete 180 just because I got our side pumped up with a little motivational speech. It's just like football players before a game, you get them psyched up and eager to fight and they'll make you proud. So during a large scale conflict, can the negative thoughts, we're all thinking them anyway, and we don't need to be reminded. If you sit and focus on the negative, you're creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. Also, it only works if you feel it too, otherwise it's like Ben Stein trying to psych someone up. So during a fight, let everyone know how kickass they are doing, and feel free to exercise a little patriotism for your nation. Get them to participate too, "Can I get a HELL YEAH!?" Once you get pumped it just builds momentum from that point on. (^^)b
Bump landing is the art of crashing and landing at the same time, what you do is fly straight at the ground, and at the exact moment you'd crash, land. What will happen is your screen will shake like you crashed, but you'll land instantly with full control over your gear. Great for when you've got a ton of missiles/gears on your butt and you have barrier ready but aren't on the ground. Just run like crazy, Bump land, barrier then turn the tables. Also works great for landing on pads too. Practice with damage absorption!
The Pre-siege is actually a lesser known trick, at least I think it is 8p It's the act of airsieging right as you go into a gate. If you time it at that exact moment before it sucks you in and you lose control, you'll go into airsiege mode AND get sucked through the gate. The real evil is when you reach the other side, you'll insta-stop in the gate already in siege mode. It's an EVIL surprise for people on the other side of the gate, as well as for anyone chasing you, as they spawn and autopilot in front of you out of the gate. This is especially evil during raids, since you insta-stop IN the gate, anyone going in the gate behind you spawns in FRONT of you, so you get free shots at the gate campers while they can't target you due to the people in front of you ^^ You used to be able to land on a gate, barrier, then drive off, take off, then pre-siege into the gate, coming out of the gate on the other side with about 8 seconds of missile proofness and already in siege. Too bad that patched it >8)
It's pretty simple but hard to do in confined maps. It's just the act of going into rear view and snaring a gear chasing you without snaring yourself by accident. Very VERY frustrating... to the other guy o.~. Also nifty for snaring people who try to fly at you and get on your 6 when you're using an A-X.
Wierd at first, but pretty fun once you get used to it, kind of a slow killer though, possibly better with a dualist.
If I remember correctly, you hit rear view then hold the right mouse to scroll around, and then zoom all the way out, then let go of rear view while holding the right mouse button and you have full control of your view and you can shoot at all angles while driving. Use with snare and ground accel to kill b-gears in duels, and use it to fight non melee/missile mobs while regaining SP. Correct me if I'm wrong, it's been a while ^^
Playing a giant hover tank with big boom boom guns isn't as straightforward as you thought, huh? It's placompicated >.<
[I have no idea what "placomicated" means. - Archy]As long as at least one person gets something out of this page it'll be totally worth the effort. It was an extremely hard decision for me to leave SCO, and I still regret it on a regular basis, but fortunately for me, I love my family more ;)
Supah Daddeh, aka SD, aka Steve.