This guide is written assuming that you are fighting against computer generated AI enemies. Real opponents are much more flexible and accurate and tend to be harder to outwit, so we cannot guarantee that these strategies will work in multiplayer, but they are a very good place to start.
Each type of ship in freelancer has a best form of combat, however there are some general rules which apply to any mode of combat:
- Try to make missiles crash in to something else, take cover behind a station or asteroid when you are warned of an incoming missile. Chances are, weaker and cheaper missiles will hit the station.
- Alternatively make a few tight turns when missiles are fired at you and drop countermeasures by presing "C". The better your countermeasures the more chance you have of the missile being deflected.
- When missiles and mines come towards you from the front, fire your lasers directly at them, if your aim is good enough you will blow them up before they can harm you. This is particularly useful against weapons platforms that fire missiles in the destroy installations missions.
- It is important to use cover to your advantage, asteroid fields are the best places for one on one dog fights as the cover prevents your ship being hit from all angles, this helps your wallet when you come to repair your ship. Many of the computer controlled players are not skilled enough to fight in asteroid fields so practice this.
- If you are vastly out numbered then a good trick to use, is to fly to the edge of a planet, or star, enter it's corona/atmosphere, but not far enough to to get damaged. More often than not, the AI will fly right in to the corona and explode.
- [contentbox]The Golden Rule ... The most important rule of combat is to decide when to fight and when to run. If you are not tied in to a fight by a mission and you have the chance, make a quick analysis of the situation and critically compare your abilities. Do not take risks and overestimate yourself, this is a great way to get yourself killed!
You can always flee and take your revenge later!
Section 1 - Combat In A Light Fighter
- Light fighters are the weakest craft in the game; they have low hull strength and have shields weaker then those of any other class. But what they loose in strength they gain in manoeuvrability and acceleration, they can easily out move freighters and heavy fighters in combat.
- However they don't just lose out in strength, they loose firepower as well. They generally can't mount turrets and cannot mount torpedo launchers.
- Having said that, they are not as bad as they sound, they can dodge almost anything sent their way in terms of mines missiles and laser fire. They are great ships for dogfighting in.
- To survive in a light fighter you need to capitalise on its strengths. Keep moving at all times, never stay still and stick to your targets like glue. Your firepower may be less superior to theirs but your ship combined with the speed of your reactions mean that you are still superior to any form of AI.
- Use your engines to your advantage as well, get a decent thruster and use the acceleration of your ship, you will be able to take on anyone in liberty (at least) and win.
Section 2 - Fighting in A Heavy / Very Heavy Fighter
- These are exceptional all round craft and are most player's choice in open singleplayer or multiplayer however they have no obvious strengths. They are stronger then light fighters but are weaker than freighters. They are also the mid way point of manoeuvrability. They can carry turrets and more lasers than you need. Very heavy fighters can mount torpedo launchers as well making them a force to be reckoned with.
- Heavy fighters require more assessment to fight in. If up against more manoeuvrable opponents the best thing to do is cut your engines and attack from range with lasers and missiles, destroying them with sheer firepower. For opponents of your same class, it is generally better to move in on them and engage in a dog fight with mines and lasers as your opponent is in exactly the same situation as you are.
Section 3 - Defending Your Freighter
- Freighters are the real heavy hitters in the game, with space right from the start for 2 lasers and 6 turrets. They have more turret mounts than any other class of ship in the game, They are incredibly strong and have the most powerful shields. The cargo space they offer is second to none, The most basic freighter (i.e. Liberty EL-HiL27 Rhino Fighter) can only be matched (in terms of cargo space) by the most advanced Very Heavy Fighters, (i.e. Civilian CTE-600 Eagle & Corsair M10-Class Titan).
- However having said that, these are the least manoeuvrable ships in the game and tend to be difficult when trying to do the more difficult missions. The combat style of a freighter is angled towards sheer brute force, the number of turrets mean that you can destroy an incoming hostile in a few shots - without the need for high powered Level 10 Weapons.
- Freighters are not really designed for combat, they are designed for trading and for defending their cargo and should really be used in this way. However it is possible to complete missions with them if you adjust yourself to the slow turning speeds. For a freighter it is essential to get the best thruster you can and use it well mines as countermeasures will help you get the best out of your ship. Make sure you master the engine kill tactic first though.