Hello fellow pilot,
my name is Imrahil and I have played Dreadnought since the beginning of Alpha testing. We might have met on the battlefield. It is unlikely however. In general I tend not to meet many enemies. Why is that you ask? Well, I am that strange kind of pilot that only helps his teammates to kill the opposition. I hope to help new players to find a way into playing the hilarious and exciting blend of chaos and instant reward the Tactical Cruiser provides. I also hope to give existing players a hand in exploring this class to its fullest extent. I have been playing the Tactical Cruiser since the first Alpha Session, so you might say I am fairly experienced.
For the purposes of this tutorial I separate the general ships in the game into three categories: Carries, Tanks and Supports.
A carry is a ship with relatively weak defenses but a heavy punch. Your team needs to work around them, they need tanks to do their job perfectly or they will have major problems in doing what they are supposed to do: Tons of damage.
A tank is a ship with massive armor and a big life pool. These are the major frontline combatants, they are the team, they decide the ebb and flow of battle. They rely on their support for survivability to do what they are supposed to do: Soak up damage and kill other front line combatants.
A support is a ship with primary abilities to heal its team mates or to aid them in other major ways. They stick with the tanks, they hide from enemy fire. They rely on both carries and tanks to do what they are supposed to do: Keep the team alive at all costs.
In general the roles are:
- Carries - Light Tactical Cruiser, Artillery Cruiser and Corvette
- Tanks - Destroyer and Dreadnought
- Support - Heavy and Medium Tactical Cruiser
Who wants to read this?Edit
The focus of this tutorial is exclusively on the support role of the Tactical Cruiser and how to play around it properly. For word of god on the carry tac bug AitConvarion until he finally publishes his tutorial. ;) If you have any questions I am an Admin on the Community Discord server so you can always go there and ask questions!
How to work with the Tactical Cruiser on your teamEdit
Playing a CarryEdit
For you it's quite easy. If you need heals, come to your support. He will stick with the tanks, literally. His face is usually locked on the close up hulks he is trying to heal, so he might not notice you unless you call out (press 'F' -> need repair). If you see another carry sneaking up on him, be so nice to kill them. For one you will get a kill, and as an additional bonus your support doesn't need to try hitting a Corvette with extremely close range cotton ball throwers. You do the general mayhem and carnage, he tries keeping you alive. He will fail. Frequently. Then again, if you were into long term survival you wouldn't be riding a cannon strapped to an engine housing, right?
Playing a TankEdit
You my friend are important. You carry both guns and armor. You reduce the amount of health lost to incoming damage so your friendly support has a chance to keep you alive and kicking. As long as your support is not level 25 you have to keep the warping down to a sensible minimum. Repositioning in combat is perfectly ok, but try not to stake your support out for the texas chain Corvette massacre. Also it's nice if you are able to dodge sniper shots, we still prefer you taking them rather than us. Our paint is important to us, we like to keep it scratch free. Once your support hits level 25 you may warp on cooldown. We will be able to keep up. If you want to charge ahead mark an enemy (press f and go to attack target). We will make sure that we are in supporting range when you warp out. But also please look out for incoming warps. It's quite hilarious to see your Dreadnought exchange places with an opponent Dreadnought. But only for the short time it takes them to kill us. In exchange for your tender care we will keep you alive even if you have decided to Leroy Jenkins into a 5 man enemy fleet. We might fail. Heals do tend to fall off at extreme range, especially in the Koschei. But we promise to engine boost into extreme danger to close to effective range again and heal you with all our abilities. Our puny live before yours. Just make it worth the sacrifice!
Choose your weaponEdit
Primary Weapon and ShipEdit
Since you cannot change primary weapons on a ship currently choosing a ship equates to choosing a primary weapon. So here are your choices:
Your primary weapon is a healing beam that doubles as a damage beam. Its healing is acceptably strong in low to medium damage situations. The range falloff is negligible, there just isn't that much that could fall. Its damage will scratch the paint of a Corvette quite thoroughly even though killing it requires a bit of experience. With the recent long range buff to the Aion it is now an excellent secondary healer or roaming primary healer. If the enemy is swarming you with Corvettes and you still want to heal take this ship and introduce them to what happens when you beam amplify with power to weapons on a Corvette. Have you seen popcorn in a microwave oven? Exactly that.
|Medium Beam Turrets|
Your primary weapon is a pure healing beam. Don't bother pointing it at an enemy since it will do absolutely nothing. Its healing is the strongest in the game and suffices in the heaviest damage situations. You can heal up a monarch under fire from a full enemy team with it if you boost your weapons with Energy. You will however not be doing anything else, and once your energy is drained he will go down disgustingly quick. The real power of this beam is in the extremely close ranges, since falloff is drastic. Correction, it used to be drastic, now you don't even bother with power to weapons at above 2.5km. Just boost your engines, it will give you more heal than power to weapons. At its maximum range of 5km it's less than the Aion beam. But when you are sitting 50m below your target it becomes the reason he stays alive even after the 5th nuke went down on him...
|Heavy Repair Beam|
|Heal (per second)||Range|
* Even though your beam locks on at above 5000m it will not do any healing or damage!
If you want the extra range you can go for the rocket launchers, I saw them on the Aion and decided to never press q again as long as those were in that slot. If you manage to hit anything it might do acceptable damage. I find it to be a completely useless weapon against the Corvettes however, so on a support it used to be kind of a no go for me. On the Aion however you have the option to pick it anyway, since your primary actually does decent damage against corvettes.
Secondary weapon of choice for me on an Aion is the Tesla Turret. It used to bug out every now and then and failed to do any damage. If however it does damage its an amount equal to what most dedicated combatants can deliver. Many a Corvette, some Artillery Cruisers and even a couple of Destroyers have fallen prey to my teslas. Do not underestimate them, if you engage a support with tesla turrets at close range you will get burned badly! Then again, that's also where its achilles heel is: At around 500m effective range a Corvette can burn through your engagement range before you managed to switch weapons. Even a Dreadnought can outrange you before you kill him if he just boosts engines and flies away laughing at you. Its mortal enemy is energy to shields. If your opponent does that try making rude gestures at him since you won't damage anything but his ego anyways.
I am currently running these since the Tesla bug annoyed me too much. They are the highest damage, longest range and quickest firing weapon at your disposal. They are very precise, ideal to chip away at Corvettes or steal kills from your teammates smile
The Tactical Cruiser has a number of interesting choices when it comes to flexibility. There is however a "perfect" build, in terms of healing or sustain.
This is your primary burst heal tool. It boosts your healing output drastically but makes you very vulnerable at the same time. Use with extreme caution, but with it you can outheal anyone. A Koschei using this and module amper heals over(!) 15.600 health per second. That is if you switch of power to weapons after triggering it. If you have energy generator and Adrenaline Shot you can reach much higher since it increases the base values. 30% dps increase through power to weapons gives you 20.280 health per second. Yes. That's one Monarch per 4 seconds.
Effect: Damage +200%, Healing +300%, Defense -50%, Energy -100 Duration: 15s CD: 45s Maximum output over duration: 304.200 health
This will slow any enemy to a crawl. Since the June patch, that's about all it does, since the damage debuff means you won't be hurting much with it. The best thing about this module is that it doesn't carry the energy drain and armorbreaker downsides of the other two Beam modules, so you can safely use it any time you don't have much healing to do. Hunting Corvettes with it is great fun though. Just take care you don't trigger it before his run. The other place it shines is stopping strafing or ramming Talonises from getting in or out or dodging fire the way they like to.
Effect: Damage -10%, disables all thrust on target Lifetime: 10s CD: 50s
Again only usefull on the Aion or the Cattaro. It will work on the Koschei however. It disables all abilites, increases ability CD while active on the target and decreases the targets defense.
Effect: Defense -50%, Energy -100, Damage -10%, +0.05s CD per second, Defense Target -50% Lifetime: 10s CD: 50s
While not totally useless, they do hit and damage enemy ships, they are just not contributing in any realistic way to your role. If you are right beneath a tank soaking up massive damage and don't have anything else to do by all means press 1. I can't tell you if it does anything however. It might just be pretty animations. The damage as compared to Dreadnoughts broadsiding and nukes going off is laughable.
Range: 35000 DPS: 4000/6s Lifetime: 20s CD: 100s
Good way to keep down the pesky Corvette. Tractors everything that gets close to the pod which is fairly squishy though so don't expect wonders out of it.
Range: 10000 Duration: 40s CD: 80s Strenght: 100.000
Very situational, probably unsuited on a true support. Its short range and high damage make it interesting on a more offensive setup though. Also note, that the cooldown starts directly after the pod deploys, so you can almost have them up constantly.
Range: 6000 Duration: 45s CD: 45s DPS: 1000
They fill up your energy and everyone elses energy once they abandoned you. It's hilarious to keep gaining energy while on shields and a Dreadnought is unloading in your face. They will however kill you. Since you have no control over their pathing and targeting they tend to leave you alone in the worst possible moment. If you could really use that little bit of energy to absorb just a little bit of that broadside damage on you they will probably be sitting 3km away giving energy to the Dreadnought who is just engine boosting away from you. RIP master. The robot revolution is real! Since the nerf they are still good but require a bit more foresight. You basically have a way to fill up your energy with some delay.
Range: 12000 Effect: Energy Regen +125% Lifetime: 40s CD: 30s
Offensive oriented drones to take away your opponents energy. Unsuited for true support.
Range: 4000m Effect: -10 energy per second Lifetime: 30s CD: 30s
While theoretically suited for supports you should take heed that they currently don't give you support reputation! You can expect your reputation gains to go down significantly with these guys up and running. Average healing but they don't debuff your defense and can heal you as well as everyone else. Try out whether you like these, beam amp, or the surge drones and pick whatever fits your style better.
Range: 5000m Effect: 1200 Lifetime: 30s CD: 30s
This is actually a very good tool for your own survival. Compared to its contemporaries it's without alternative. On its own it does not provide much healing. But when on full shields you do not receive much actual damage. A single Healing pod (let alone more than one, since you spam them on cooldown) can be all the difference between popping shortly after your armor amplifier timed out or sustaining for another 30 seconds against 2 Dreadnoughts while keeping your own Dreadnought at full health. This little pod will just keep in place once spawned. It flies towards the targeted direction for a shot range but deploys once it encounters any object in its way. Even popping it under way is viable if you need to top up a bit quicker to max health.
Effect: 800 heal per 2 seconds in 600m radius AoE Lifetime: 60s CD: 30s
Unsuited for support. Period. You need to be up close and personal with the enemy to use this.
Effect: Removes energy and adds a debuff preventing regeneration for a short time Lifetime: 120 CD: 20s
The only place you'll want to run these is if you need something to keep a corvette from murdering you. Travels about 500m before activating. With PtW/Mod Amper, will instagib light corvettes if you can trick them into flying into it. Has the slight advantage of looking like an innocuous repair pod while deploying.
Effect: Boom (15000/7500/1875, Radius 680m, linear falloff) Lifetime: 120s Active: 20s CD: 50s
Mid range anti Corvette option. If popping them with the teslas isn't your thing and you absolutely need to go into Public Groups you might want this option. It is inferior to the Healing Pod, but then you won't be in fights like that in PuGs anyway.
Range: 2400 Damag: 350 Projectiles: 15
Nice for the starting, also nice if you run something like Koschei + Aion comp. I would consider running it on an Aion, although missing that extra heal hurts even more on it, the escape this enables is sick. Basically it's an UNBREAKABLE (take THAT Corvettes!) cloak. Good option, will likely have endgame uses in special situations. Although having to decide upfront what you take with you kind of hurts you there.
Effect: Cloak 5s (breaks on warp) Projectiles: 8 (meaning you can hit up to 8 ships at once or one ship 8 times, no stacking. Radius: 1400m CD: 120
These are your second biggest source of healing. In combination with power to weapons and the module amplifier officer briefing it is a terrific boost to your overall healing ability. They excel at topping up damage bleed on multiple combatants while you try keeping the main target at full health. I also use it to top up damaged carries returning from combat since they tend to be hard to hit at anything but close range. In a clutch situation it can sometimes be unpredictable who they will actually heal, but since they can target multiple ships and usually only heal when there is something to be healed they are never really wrong. When burst healing against incoming damage they are absolutely unparalleled helpers to your cause. That little additional beam can be the difference between a Dreadnought going down like a Corvette under a tesla turret or him sustaining long enough to kill that one source of damage that makes the unhealable extra damage. Concerning alternatives: If you have to even think about whether the blast pulse is an alternative to this you are probably not looking to play a support smile
Effect: Health Regen +350 Range: 1200m Active: 45s CD: 40s
Well. Just no. If you think this goes on a support cruiser please leave now or write the following sentence one hundred times in your own blood on the closest monitor: I am not a damage dealer.
Effect: 6000 damage Range: 900 CD: 40s
Situational, will reduce cooldowns on all units in range including yourself and fiddles with your health regen.
Effect: no precise data Range: 1400 CD: 160s
Situational. Usually I prefer having other people take care of the nukes for me. You're not usually the one to spot them anyway.
Effect: No boom Range: 4000m Active: 20s CD: 100s
Basically a short term invincibility. Its downside is twofold: First off you loose all of your energy once you activate it. Secondly your movement speed drops so hard that even power to engine won't get you anywhere while it is active. (With power to engines you are crawling along at about your normal unboosted speed.) Once you pressed 4 you are basically a big green target signal with a countdown besides it. Every combatant on the battle field will know to burst you down exactly 5 seconds after you turned green. Within those 5 seconds however you withstand even direct impacts by nuclear weapons. You can survive any number of nukes any enemy team composition can throw at you. You will however go down immediately after. Once you have unlocked the surge drones you want to pop that immediately if available to get the energy back and either go to engine power to escape (which is unlikely most of the time) or to go to shield to sustain (which is also unlikely since your shields bleed damage through).
Effect: Energy -100, disables energy regeneration, disables thrust, massively increases damage reduction Active: 5s CD: 60s
Self heal. Completely broken to the point of total uselessness. The amount of heal is indistinguishable from Mr. Fixit. Maybe bugged. Don't use ever.
Effect: Massively increases damage reduction for 1s, health regeneration +2000 Active: 3s CD: 55s
Instant warp to a friendly(I think) target. Not totally useless, but highly situational and you will definitely have situations where you wish you had taken the Armor Amp instead. It is like the blink warp of the Corvette, but. Sadly it is a big but. While it has an absolutely epic range, at 16km you can about warp to every friendly on the whole battlefield, it is extremely situational. Yes you can escape even a nuke on a 30 second cooldown, but that's not exactly what you want. Unlike the armor amp triggering target warp will take you out of the situation and disable your healing. In my opinion this is a bad choice, but depending on your style it might work for you. I like the total chaos of nuclear explosions in my face when healing, for that I need the "ignore damage"-button. When with PUGs I recommend staying away from this. Survivability is very important if you're playing with a team sans coordination.
Range: 16000m Min Range: 200m CD: 30s
At the time I initially wrote this guide the armor amplifier lasted 10s and was a gorgeous tool to stay alive. They nerfed it to 5s and boy did I rage. I proposed to make it basically work like your shields and not touch your energy. I wanted to have a tool to play with my energy management propperly. Little did I know that exactly this was already in the game. The energy generator is the absolute king in versatility, if you are good at managing your energy this will enable you to work miracles.
Effect: Energy Cooldown disabled, Energy regeneration +6, Energy consumption -5 Active: 10s CD: 35s
More powerfull than the Overclock Pulse but only on yourself. Situational.
Effect: Ability Cooldown -20s CD: 120s
Press 4 to run away with the only perfect cloak in game. You get a short boost in the direction you are facing, and your speed is supposedly boosted somewhat. Sadly your shields aren't cloaked, and if somebody hits you you shimmer through. Also beam weapons can still lock onto you. Situational and you're probably off picking either target warp for proper mobility or energy generator/armor amp for proper sustain.
Effect: Thrust +200%, perfect cloak, boosts you forward for a short time Active: 15s CD: 20s
Shared over all ships and classes in the game these contain only very few that actually are usable with the support.
Everytime a module comes off cooldown you gain 0.3 energy per second of its total cooldown. Very usefull until you have retaliator.
After destroying an enemy with a module, you... Ok. You should know what that means for you.
When taking shield damage your module cooldowns will be reduced. This is superior to Desperate Measures in so far as it has no limit per life, it is inferior in the sense of it being less clutch friendly. Tight spots will benefit from Desperate Measures, your general well being from Retaliator. Decisions, decisions. I expected to stick with Desperate Measures since it seemed to fit my playstyle better, but I was totally surprised by the extreme sustain provided by this perk. It is absolutely massive in that regard and while I still had occasional situations where I died due to lack of desperate measures I had way more times where I could press armor amplifier again so quickly that I survived for twice as long as before. Once I started using Energy Generator there wasn't even a question of what you use. The synergy of always having your shields up and getting your enemy to reduce your cooldowns for you is just too go
This will reset all your abilities and reload your energy once per life when you hit 10% health. When using armor amplifier its reset is giving you roughly an extra 8 seconds to heal your team in the tightest of spots. This will however ONLY work ONCE per life! So always keep track of this, you will die uselessly else! Not worth it unless using armor amp, you're very unlikely to hit shields and energy generator in time to survive. Even with Emergency Evacuation this doesn't really make sense.
Flat Cooldown bonus. Good enough until you have Feedback Loop.
Whenever you destroy an enemy, you... Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Not even killstealing with your Light Machinegun Turrets will get you to like this one ;)
Mind the fineprint, this gives you 30% module damage when setting energy to weapons. This is the most important module since it enables the triple synergy between power to weapons, surge drones and repair autobeams or the even higher burst synergy between PtW, beam amplifier and energy generator. Before Energy generator the triple synergy was the best heal burst you could deliver. Nowadays you can go quad synergy with PtW, Beam Amplifier, Repair Autobeams and Energy Generator. You basically get a ton of extra healing for free. Crosshealing at that, and since the Repair Autobeams can hit multiple targets at the same time your whole team will benefit massively from you pressing 3 with this officer briefing up.
When you are at full health this briefing increases your damage (and your healing, though it doesn't say so in the description) by a whopping 25%. Why shouldn't you use that? Apart from the module amper synergy you loose it reduces your damage (and healing) when not at full health. Since "not at full health" is going to be your whole life as a healer all this briefing does for you is reduce your healing output.
When below 50% you reload 50% faster. Don't we all just hate having to reload our repair beams? Oh wait...
Gives you a 6.5% damage/heal boost. Again, fine until you have Module Amper.
When setting energy to engines you gain speed when hit and reduce damage slightly. Gains the "not totally useless"-badge.
When setting energy to engines your energy consumption is reduced by 50%. However when not doing that it is increased by 30%. Total no go.
When setting energy to engines this increases your movement speed by 100% while boosting your consumption by 75%. Another candidate for the "not totally useless"-badge. Its consumption is too much for the surge drones to keep you up though. When in tandem with a vulcan going plasmaram berzerk on your enemies this actually allows you to keep up. I currently am running this perk and I will continue to do so.
Increases your damage resistance by 15% while slowing you down by 10%. You may have guessed it. Not totally useless.
Gives you 10% more movement speed. Good until Engine Rigger takes it away.
If you take damage from behind you gain a little bit of energy. In sticky situations I tend to catch damage from everywhere, so "behind" is definitely one direction I'm getting damage from. As you might have expected= Not totally useless smile
Boosts health regeneration at the cost of reduced energy regeneration. Total no go.
If you get healed or heal someone you gain energy. This is hands down the best officer briefing, even beating the module amper. The amount of energy gained is enough to make you gain energy while having power to weapons set. You will however only gain energy if you are actually healing someone. If your target is full this does nothing, so manage your energy settings aggressively with this perk!
Nope. Increases your health at the cost of increased cooldowns. Total no go.
You gain 6.5% damage resistance. Take this until you have adrenaline shot.
There are two general ways to run your Tactical Cruiser: Roaming or Tanking. Roaming you have an abundance of options, be that Target Warp, Emergency Evac or Energy Generator with Engine Rigger. Tanking is possible using Armor Amplifier, Auto Repair(not really), and Energy Generator.
The adept reader has spotted that Energy Generator appears twice, the reason being quite simple: It is the most versatile choice at your disposal. You can do a bit of everything, you are fairly fast using energy and you are horribly (from your opponents point of view) tanky using energy. You may guess that I am a huge friend of this particular strategy. In my opinion it is the best strategy you can use with a supporting Tactical Cruiser. Period.
In general I do not do this very often, you are trying to constantly reposition while taking fire. This requires an absolutely perfect image of the situation at all times. One mistake and you are dead. High skillcap and not really much I can teach you. It is up to the experience of the individual captain and his natural ability. Definitely the most "twitchy" Tactical Cruiser playstyle.
Edit from someone who plays roam incessantly: This is the build to take with a team who knows how to spread out and take care of themselves. Take Target Warp and go nuts with the surprise heals. You haven't lived until you've popped up behind a corvette in a point-blank slugfest with a dreadnought and watched the corvette's HP not. Go. Down. The key is to keep an eye on your team, keep a few ships in good shape and then suddenly commit full heals to the dreadnought halfway across the map that the enemy team thought was easy pickings. The key is to always, always, ALWAYS be on the move. Nuclear Mines and Flechette Half-Battery become more viable here, since you're running Module Amper (you did read the rest of the guide, right?) and you end up close to enemy ships significantly more often. For the same reason, Beam Amplifier becomes more dangerous to use, but certainly viable if you can keep out of the enemy's way.
If your team isn't very good at taking care of themselves, roaming is significantly harder to pull off properly. Likewise, if you find yourself in a turtle group then at least your fourth slot is going to be useless and you'll find yourself asking why you didn't bring the Energy Generator along.
The Aion is probably the best for this job, since it has better long-range healing capability, more speed, and makes a smaller target. These are essential, since you'll be coming under fire frequently. To supplement that you'll definitely need the Module Amplifier/Adrenaline Shot/PtW/Repair Autobeams combo to be able to pull off the kind of surprise burst heals you're going for.
The Short Range Escape strategy plays a little differently. This build is made to follow an aggressive attack group and keep them in one piece long enough to deal lots of damage. The escape part only comes into play when things get too hot to handle, but you shouldn't ever find yourself sitting with your nose pointed at the enemy. If you don't have somewhere to go, point sideways or back so your 4 can get you away. Heal Pods are significantly less use here, since the ships you're trying to heal should be moving around a lot.
As far as builds go consider this:
|Modules||Beam Amplifier||Repair Pod (Situational for roaming, take what you like)||Repair Autobeams||Target Warp|
|Briefings||Retaliator||Module Amper||Engine Rigger||Adrenaline Shot|
|Modules||Beam Amplifier||Repair Pod (Situational for roaming, take what you like)||Repair Autobeams||Emergency Evac|
|Briefings||Retaliator||Module Amper||Engine Rigger||Adrenaline Shot|
This is definitely not word of god. I do not run any of these builds ever(!), you'll have to tweak this yourself!
This is what makes people hate me. You soak up damage, your only reason for existence is to be alive and to never ever die.
|Modules||Beam Amplifier||Repair Pod||Repair Autobeams||Energy Generator|
|Briefings||Retaliator||Module Amper||Engine Rigger||Adrenaline Shot|
|Modules||Repair or Surge Drone||Repair Pod||Repair Autobeams||Energy Generator|
|Briefings||Retaliator||Module Amper||Engine Rigger||Adrenaline Shot|
|Modules||Any fun combination for Damage on Slots 1 and 2||Repair Autobeams||Energy Generator|
|Briefings||Retaliator||Module Amper||Engine Rigger||Adrenaline Shot|
As you can tell the officer briefings are what makes or breaks the build. Retaliator being a fairly high end unlock you will not get to the full potential of these builds until very late in the game.
How to use itEdit
There's two basic situations you will be in: With your internal ability available and without. If available your armor amplifier or energy generator allows you to freely use energy as it becomes available to boost weapons or engines whenever appropriate. Available in this sense includes the times you have desperate measures up, so if using that and armor amp always keep track! If your internal ability is down you always need to be at 50% energy or more lest you get insta gibbed by an enemy carry. There are situations where you can not do that. If your tank is going down you boost your weapons and heal him for what you're worth. Your sustain against the fire killing him will be even less than the theoretical gain against that possible Corvette gank. Before energy generator your energy management is a pest. You will constantly have to make decisions as to whether you want to be close enough to your tank or able to heal him boosted. At max range this becomes a really hard decision. Will he go down before you come into effective range if you boost engines or weapons? On a Koschei the answer above 2400m is always power to engines, on an Aion it's situational with a tendency to power to weapons. Once energy generator become available you should be able to stick with your tank in most situations. You might not want to believe it, but a Dreadnought is a devilishly quick combatant. Their warp ability gives them the tool to outrun your heals in seconds. Sadly target warp goes in the same slot as armor amplifier and energy generator, so you have to decide what you want. Maximum sustain chasing after your tank or almost no sustain to speak of but perfect positioning. I favor the sustain, but your own mileage may vary.
Location, Location, LocationEdit
Positioning is the second most important thing right after energy management, and directly related since the later determines your speed. In scenarios with a brawling enemy fleet (Dreadnoughts and Destroyers slugging it out at close range) you want to be right below your tank(s). If at all possible try keeping your tank between you and possible sources of enemy fire. Yes you can hit armor amp and survive. But then it would be even better if you didn't need to! If however you have energy generator it becomes a game of energy and cooldown management. You need training with this! When your fleet wants to brawl it gets tricky. You have to basically start moving in on the enemy BEFORE your tanks jump in. Especially Dreadnoughts have the nasty habit of outpacing you massively if you're not always one step ahead of their game. There's a major risk in that though: If you are out front the oppositions Dreadnoughts can warp in on YOU. Nothing spoils a charge towards your tank just like two Dreadnoughts warping on top of you and popping their broadsides instantly. You have the single most difficult job in this regard, since you usually lack any kind of overview (aren't those Dreadnought backsides pretty? They must be, since we keep staring at them for minutes at a time...) but have the highest need of it. The only thing that helps you here is coordination, experience and trust. You and your tank have to know what you are going to do before you do it.
The Aion and especially the Koschei are very good healers with massive sustain ability. They are strong contributors to any team effort in this game and they are imbalanced, in so far as I don't believe a team can win against another if only one of the teams is backed by a good support captain. Yes, you need one. Availability especially of the Koschei is critical in and against heavy compositions. I however quite like the rewarding feeling of having impacted fights massively even though I died in the end. Even though their impact is massive there are tools in the game to hard counter the healing support described in this guide. Only good teamwork can prevent a Corvette from sneaking that torpedo in on you, or a Destroyer from rushing you with his pulse, or whatever disrupting or draining ability they will come up with in the future.
As one may suspect at this time I quite enjoyed flying both Aion and Koschei. I have not tried out all facets of using them, especially the Aion with its fast roaming style is a massively interesting ship in combination with the quick Light Dreadnought/Destroyer compositions. There are synergies still untested but I will get there eventually.
See you on the battlefield captains. Or, probably not see you on the battlefield, since I'll be slowboating behind or below you most of the time.
May the green stuff be with you, Imrahil