Starsiege Tribes Public Server Match Guide:
How to be a Public Sever Action Hero
By Travis Atwood -- 3/16/99
Tribes has been marketed as a squad-based game, that requires teamwork and cooperation to succeed. This is true if you're involved in an actual Tribe that competes with other Tribes, but the game is a slightly different beast in the world of Public Servers where anyone can play.
The first thing you need to know to be successful is on public servers is that trying to organize a team of complete strangers is madness. Most people know to naturally assume a role on the team and it's best to just let them do that. Generally, people are smart enough to fill in the blanks and your base will be defended respectably. Public servers are not a good place to practice your commanding skills because people log on to do their own thing and will just be annoyed with you.
That said, your greatest shot at grabbing the high score every game is to go solo. Before I get into the tactics, let me first review the basics for you.
Light is for the action heads. You have lots of freedom in movement and can do a lot of damage with just the three starter weapons. If you want to play an offensive or active role than I highly recommend light armor.
Medium gives a little more protection, but at the risky cost of less speed and mobility. It also gives you access to a few higher-powered weapons, but the truth is you can get by without them.
Heavy is for the destruction-lovers and defenders. You can kill someone with a good mortar shot, but it's not that easy to aim without practice. Heavies are a good way to fill a hallway or something like that, because no one will slip by before they're blown to pieces. Your role will usually be defensive.
Most servers start you off with three essential weapons.
Disc Launcher- Good for threats more than anything else. It's hard to hit targets unless they're still, and even then it won't kill them if they're healthy. It's great for taking out the wounded, though. It is a power weapon, and better for taking out machinery that your other starter guns. It has very limited ammo.
Blaster- It works best a sniper gun because it uses energy you would need in close combat. If you can catch someone standing still a steady stream of blaster fire can take them out before they realize what's happening. It can fire unlimitedly, and the amount it fires is based on your energy.
Chaingun- Rips the enemy apart if you're standing close enough. If you're going to use the chaingun than you have to chase the enemy down and get right in their face. It's your best defense in close combat and uses no energy. It does have limited ammo.
These are weapons that I find useful for light armor wearers. Note that mediums and heavies have access to higher-powered weapons but they generally are not needed. Higher class armor means less mobility and that's less fun in my opinion.
Grenade Launcher- Fires hand grenades for you. More accurate than throwing them by hand, but it is still not easy. Grenades can bounce off walls and have to be launched to take into account trajectory. They are most useful for clearing out enemy bases.
Sniper Rifle- A deadly weapon that can take out enemies at a range. Oddly enough, it seems less accurate at close range than far away. The sniper rifle means that you'll have to keep your profile down and out of the direct action.
The Action Hero on Public Servers
This is one approach to playing Tribes on public servers. Keep in mind that it completely bypasses the teamwork aspect of the game, and will probably be less fun in the long term. It all depends on whether you want to get high scores, or have entertaining interaction with your teammates. If you want to be part of a team than you should join a Tribe. There are always new announced Tribes forming at Starsiege Tribes websites.
The best armor for the action hero is definitely light. Heavy or medium just won't give you the mobility needed to capture that flag or objective and simultaneously blow away the enemy behind you. Your inventory should look like this:
That means that the only items you should have to purchase are a repair pack and some mines. Mines are optional and will add weight to your load, but can be invaluable if you expect to have a search squad out to gun you down. (Note: If these items are not available you are playing on a MOD, or user-altered version of the game. You will have to adapt to these on your own because these can differ in any way the designer chooses so there's no way I could cover them.) Once you have assembled your gear choose mark favorites at the inventory station. Now in the future you can just choose buy favorites and get your setup instantly.
Additional items that may be of use to you are the grenade launcher and sniper rifle. Try them out for yourself and see if they are really worthy of becoming part of your arsenal. Remember that you may need to drop or sell some weapons to have room.
IN THE FIELD
With your gear you are capable of many roles. Here are the tips that will keep you on top, however you choose to play.
STAYING ALIVE -- REPAIR PACKS AND KITS
Unless you want to use a sniper rifle which requires an energy pack, always buy the repair pack as your back pack. It can repair anything, including your base machinery and yourself. It uses your energy, so it's best to use it when you're not being attacked and have a free moment.
Most people forget that they also have a repair kit. This will give you back a nice chunk of life immediately. These can be life saving in close combat.
Vehicles can be your best means of transportation. Especially the Scout, which will zip you across the landscape. The other vehicles, LPC and HPC are bulky and slow but can carry passengers.
Besides transporting you, vehicles have offensive potential. The Scout can fire missiles, although it's hard to be accurate with it. In the LPC's and HPC's your passengers are free to use their weapons. They're also free to use repair packs on the craft if it gets hit.
Speaking of repairs, if you find your Scout getting badly damaged, duck behind a hill, get out and use your repair pack to restore it.
The other offensive tactic is to run over enemies or set yourself in a strategic place to blow up and take some bad guys out. If you see a cluster of enemies you can try to run your ship into the ground and get out in time. The resulting explosion can be devastating. Since it's hard to get out before the crash you may just want to let yourself die. I wouldn't bother with a suicide mission unless you're positive you can do some damage.
Using the blaster you can usually take out any light and possibly a medium before they notice if you fire in a steady stream. Thus, you can even take on a sniper role if you wish! Most people choose the laser rifle for that. The laser rifle is only as powerful as your energy. Your blaster also relies on energy but can still be functional with minimum. So the blaster is actually an effective sniper's tool.
If you do choose to use the laser rifle, you'll have to carry an energy pack, which means no repair pack for you. Always fire on max energy and try and get a head shot. If you don't kill your victim than move or you might find a mortar landing on your head. Don't bother with the laser rifle in close combat. You can kill someone easily with a good shot, but it's more important you have the energy available to fly out of harm's way. Even if someone seems to be struggling up a hill ten feet away from you there's a good chance you'll miss them. The laser rifle should really only be used on stationary targets at a distance.
The sniper's goldmine is respawn points, the place where your enemies come back to life. Almost everyone stands still when they come back for a second or two. A good sniper can wipe them out before they have a chance.
Never stay still, that's for sure. If you are sniping someone be sure to find the least visible location to shoot from. Sometimes there are gaps between hills that work perfectly. Remember, even if you are sniping, you should be on the move. You are usually just as much a target as the people you're aiming at.
When heading straight for an enemy base or objective, don't head straight at all. Zigzag and do short hops with your jetpack. Do everything you can to make yourself a moving target.
Your jetpack will save your ass more times than any of the fancy weapons in your arsenal. If an enemy is charging you with a blazing chaingun, fly over his head and use your trusty disc launcher. Take advantage of open rooms in bases and large corridors.
CLEARING THE INSIDES OF BASES
If your enemy has any idea of how to play, their base will be filled with turrets, mines, and other terrible things that will wipe you out in a second. The good thing is that you can clear out all the garbage with a big weapon like the grenade launcher or mortar. Only heavies can use the mortar, so unless you manage to have a friend with you the best strategy is to zip by a doorway and pop some grenades in. I recommend using the grenade launcher rather than hand grenades because hand grenades have an occasional tendency to drop at your feet and kill you.
KILLING A SNIPER
Taking out snipers is extremely easy. First of all, don't ever head straight for them. That gives the time to flee the scene or set a trap for you.
The very effective way to kill a sniper is to work your way up behind them and then blast them at point blank range with the chaingun. I've never seen one get away from this attack. Meanwhile, remember to warn your team if a sniper is on the loose. I went through 30 guys once before they wisened up and stopped standing still.
BASE DEFENSE -- TURRETS
The best thing you can do to keep your base secure is place turrets. Turrets can be destroyed easily by the enemy, but that's only if they have the time to do it. Usually they're dead as a doornail as they round a corner and your turret blasts the life out of them.
Turrets can only be placed in certain proximity to each other. You can't just plaster a small chamber with turrets or it will tell you there is remote interference. Also, there is a limit to the amount you can place. For these reasons it is necessary you place them in very strategic places. For example, around corners near the entrance to your base and by your team's flag or generator is a good use of turrets.
You'll need to put on at least medium armor to place turrets. When placing remember that it will be placed where you are aiming, so you'll have to look at the ground.
The next best base defense is a few heavies ready to mortar intruders. Heavies seem more effective indoors than anyone else because they can withstand a lot of hits and dish out big hurt.
TURRETS ON THE OFFENSE
An excellent trick is to place a turret right by or inside an enemy base if you can. Usually the enemy is dead before they realized what happened. Try and place it when no one is around because groups of people will see the results and dispose of your trap quickly.
CAPTURING THE FLAG
Capturing the flag is often times very easy. There is always more than one route to it, and almost certainly areas your enemy has left unguarded. Your greatest threat in offensive moves is your enemy's defense system. Be careful to snipe out as many small turrets as you can before running for the flag.
Try and work out a steady route to your objective. That way when you walk through it on the way there you'll be able to get rid of any enemies that may be waiting. The best routes are ones that run around the line of site of your enemy. Sometimes you can charge straight at a base and get lucky, but most of the time you just get slaughtered.
Your best bet is to try and slip in and grab the flag undetected. Of course once you take it everyone will know. Take the same route home that you took to get there because that is the one you are most sure is clear. Keep your jetpack on full blast most of the way. If an enemy is on your tail, surprise him and turn around with your chaingun in his face. More times than not you can take out an enemy behind you just because they're not prepared. Use mines also. There's not much someone can do when they're right behind you and a mine appears suddenly.
Going for the flag or any objective is usually something done best alone. The more people in the same area the better the chances of the enemy detecting you. For this reason you might want to avoid taking the path the rest of your team is taking. Let them be the decoys and you can slip on by without being noticed.
TIME IS NOT OF THE ESSENCE
Thanks to the frantic pace of everyone around you and the pressure of a time and point system you may feel compelled to act. Sometimes it's fun to rush right into the action, but most of the time that just means death for you. Sit back. Relax. Configure your favorites at the inventory stations. Try walking to an enemy base without using your jetpack. You won't need it if you have found a nice, safe route. It's important to scout things out first.
For example, once I figured I would try approaching an enemy base from the side because everyone seemed to be out front. If I had checked my map, or bothered to look before I leaped, I would have avoided heading into a canyon that was packed with enemies eager to destroy me.
Don't let yourself be pressured by numbers or other players. Take a minute to create a good plan and you'll usually succeed.
REPAIR YOUR BASE!
If no one repairs the damaged equipment after enemy attacks, you're in trouble. If you have a repair pack (and you definitely should unless you're using the sniper rifle which requires energy pack) take a moment to fix broken inventory and ammo stations and vehicle pads. It's a necessary job if your team wants to stay in the game.
Especially important is the generator or generators. Remember that this is what powers your entire base. No power equals no inventory stations, no buying vehicles, and none of the built in base defenses. Ask someone to guard the gens, place some turrets there, and if you get a message that says "unit not powered" tell your teammates to fix the gens until they do.
Don't bother repairing other players. Equipment is much more important. Remember that using an inventory station also restores a player's health and ammo.
Sound effects are extremely important in Tribes. Sometimes there is no other way to tell that a mortar just carved out the earth behind you. Everyone likes to crank up the CD now and then, but you're really endangering yourself if you turn off the sound effects.
Trying to command your makeshift team on a public server probably won't work. Your best bet is to find a few friends and work with them. It's easy to get a group of three or four organized and listening to you, but I doubt you'll have any luck with 16 people who just logged on for a few minutes of carnage.
Typing is important because the preset comments are not specific enough to command people with. If you want to use a command console I recommend looking for an obscure one. They are usually right out in the open and you'll get blasted if you stop to use it.
CONFIGURE YOUR CONTROLS
I'm not sure how you could access all the commands in Tribes without anything other than a mouse/ keyboard combo. The mouse gives you precision control in aiming and the mouse buttons give easy access to the two biggest actions, shooting and jetpack. The keyboard works well in hosting the many other options. I would configure most of your combat intensive commands around the arrow keys and numeric pad. (Only if your keyboard is configured like that of course, and has a separate numeric pad and arrow keys in between the regular keys.) I place all the important functions, like zoom and using certain objects around the arrow keys so that I can reach them immediately. I use the arrow keys for movement. There will definitely be some things that you won't be able to access easily. You'll just have to wait for a safe moment before you start talking or looking at your inventory.
USE YOUR MAP
The map can tell you two important things right away. It shows where the bases are and it shows where you are. All you have to do to find your way is look at the map a few times to orientate your direction towards the location and off you go.
Want to find a player? Click on his name from the list and then the crosshair icon to see his location pointed out.
There are many other useful functions of the map, but they're not really necessary for simple public server matches. I would spend some time experimenting if you plan on advanced Tribe play.
UNDERSTAND THE NET
When the Tribes server list comes up you should pay attention to the Ping number. The ping will relatively tell you how well play will be, but it's not always an accurate reflection. For best reliability you want to play on a server that's physically closer to where you are playing from. A ping of 1-200 is great quality. 200-400 can be acceptable. Beyond 400 is usually poor quality, but again it's not always dependent on ping.
If you have problems getting any low pings it is most likely the fault of the company providing your internet service. Ask tech support people for that company or better yet ask other users of the service for help.
JAM THOSE SENSORS
When you see an enemy they have a big red arrow hovering over them. You look the same way to them. However, with a remote sensor jammer you can get rid of that and make yourself less noticeable. A clever place to set one is near an enemy base so that they can't track your incoming team members so easily. Of course they can still see you, but it's much easier to hide when you don't have a red arrow on your head.
You can also use a jammer back pack for a similar effect, but you will probably be better off with a repair pack.
I've tried to mention as many useful tips as possible here that will benefit the light-core Tribes gamer. With some practice I'm sure you'll do awesome on public server matches. If you have anything to add feel free to email me at [email protected]
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