As part of our HighFleet beginner’s guide series, today we’ll take a look at aerial combat. For more information on actual strategy and everything leading op to an actual fight, you can check out our beginner tips guide. With that out of the way, let’s fire up that liquid methane and take to the explosive skies of HighFleet.
HighFleet combat guide
First off, let’s get the absolute basics out of the way. For some simple instructions on controls and a basic understanding of what you’re looking at during a fight, check out the official HighFleet manual. Also understand that you’re always at a disadvantage in every fight. The enemy gets to take three ships into battle, you only get to use one at a time.
That means lining up your fleet could be half the battle. While there is no right or wrong in terms of fighting style, there is a general consensus: always prevent damage, instead of mending it. Generally it’s a good idea to start with the fastest, smallest ship you can.
Depending on the type of enemy aircraft, you could do with a simple Lightning and outmaneuver all enemy fire. Sometimes (for example when fighting strike groups) that small an aircraft just doesn’t have the firepower to put a dent in the enemy. In that case, an Intrepid or maybe a Gladiator will do the trick.
As a simple way of making decisions before you fly into battle, here’s a simple flow chart:
- Inferior or weak(ened) enemy? Use your fastest combat ship.
- Is the enemy quite well armed or armored?
- Pick the fastest ship that has some special armor piercing ammo available to quickly take out armored opponents. Rockets or bombs will also do. Just launch all of them and quickly retreat.
- Are your small ships too weak and/or do you not have any special ammo?
- Fly into battle with ships that are cheapest to repair. For example, armor, guns, and big engines are really expensive to replace. Alternatively, use cheap ships you can afford to lose to weaken the enemy before risking your bigger, expensive ships.
- Is all that still going to result in certain death?
- Send in the Flagship (Sevastopol by default) to obliterate any enemy. One Sevastopol can easily take out multiple Strike Groups on it’s own, though repairs subsequently take days.
Combat screen explained
Now that we know how to prepare for an imminent battle, let’s fly this HighFleet guide toward the actual combat part. Starting with the combat screen, let’s dive into what is what using this crudely photoshopped image (click on the image to enlarge). Below the image, you’ll find a more detailed explanation of all the important information.
- Your ship! Right above it you see your engine temperature bar. If it get’s red, engines overheat and you’ll temporarily be immobilized
- Your ship, but in more detail. Damaged modules and parts show up in red, showing you where not to get shot. Also note abbreviations indicating the amount of remaining:
– FFS: Fire suppression system to put out fires
– Fuel: Well, fuel…
– ASM: Anti-ship missiles
– AAM: Anit-air missiles (anti-missile missiles)
– GPB: General purpose bombs
– EVAC: Number of evacuation pods
- Aim indicators. The thin line tells you your aiming direction, the smaller arrows indicate weapon orientation (per fire group, max two)
- Tells you if heat seeking missiles are coming your way (see point 9)
- Amount of ammo in the magazine. ‘Spec Shell’ (square top right) tells you if there is special ammo being loaded. Also visually reflected by ammo shown in the cassette
- Fuel fire warning. Also shows the number of Fire Suppression Systems charges left (if any)
- Enemy closest to aiming reticle trajectory is selected (see point 8). Heat seeking missiles target this specific enemy
- Detailed information of locked on enemy. Same abbreviations as in point 2
- Live status indicators, showing (left to right) enemy reloading, a live missile, most recent damage done. Could also show fuel percentage, maneuverability (dynamic), fuel fire, cause of death
- Retreat area. Fly into the arrow to retreat your current ship and spawn as the next one in your predetermined line-up
As we said in our non combat oriented HighFleet beginner’s guide, preventing damage is always the best course of action. You can dodge enemy fire pretty easily as they indicate when they’re about to shoot. Additionally, you can use your maneuverability and overdrive (shift key) to quickly dodge incoming missiles and explosives.
Of course, dodging enemy fire won’t win you any battles. In this section we’ll talk about the ways you can destroy enemy aircraft using different techniques. As a general tip: most of these tips involve specific modules on enemy ships. Memorize what parts look like and even how common enemy ships are designed. You can access all earlier encountered standard ships in the Shipworks.
For a final tip before we go into the killing part of aerial combat: you don’t need active or passive defenses to counter enemies. Your guns can do that trick too. You can shoot down any projectile with any gun. Higher caliber rounds are easier to shoot down, but even the smallest bullets collide with equally tiny pieces of lead.
That’s why most larger ships are outfitted with huge and tiny guns; the tiny ones are meant to blast enemy rockets, missiles, and explosive ammo to pieces in mid-air. The large guns are meant to do the actual damage.
Modules you want to target
- Bridge (instant death): The bridge is the brain of a ship. Every ship, large or small, has one bridge. You can tell where a bridge is located by the eagle logo on it. Eating away armor and modules covering the bridge is a surefire way of dealing with most ships. Alternatively, armor piercing rounds aimed at the bridge do the trick nicely too.
- Engines: Every ship must have a thrust to weight ratio of at least 1. If the ship is heavier than the weight its thrusters can carry, it falls to the earth like a sack of potatoes. Target exposed engines to quickly dispose of an enemy, or at least make them unmaneuverable.
- Ammo: Another great target is ammo. Guns need lots of it, and unsurprisingly, it explodes when shot at. Most ships have a bunch of ammo stacked together, so shooting one ammo module can cause a chain reaction and do loads of damage.
Less effective targets
- Fuel: Fuel tanks generally take up a huge amount of real estate, especially on larger ships. They aren’t as effective a target though. Ships tend to stay in the air for really long, even with little fuel. While fuel tanks do explode, they burn up quite slowly and don’t do that much damage when exploding.
- Crew quarters and generators: Like fuel, most ships have a lot of spare crew and generators. Those modules are also perfect to tuck away in unused spaces, so you can’t quickly disable a ship’s power or men. These modules just soak up damage, while netting you nothing if you destroy them.
- General HP: Lastly, let’s talk about general HP. Every part of any HighFleet ship has HP (durability). You can hollow out a gigantic ship until it looks like a flying turtle shell without the turtle. And yet, it’ll stil function. HP is a general pool of health and depleting an enemy of it takes so much effort, you might as well target vital modules instead.
HighFleet ammo explained
Before we wrap this HighFleet combat guide up, let’s talk about ammo real quick. There are a bunch of different calibers that muddle up the Supplies screen. There are just a few ammo types though. Below you’ll find an explanation of what each type does and what it’s best used for.
- Standard explosive ammo is free and is the default for every weapon. Depending on the caliber, explosive rounds do a certain amount of damage to the part they hit and potentially parts around that point. They’re perfect for tearing down armor before devastating the inside of a ship.
- Incendiary rounds have a high chance of setting fire to anything they hit. Parts that are on fire receive extra damage over time. Ineffective against armor, very effective against lighter, unarmored ships.
- Armor piercing rounds pierce armor, as you might’ve guessed. They penetrate multiple parts, doing a little bit of damage to everything in it’s path. They’re a waste against unarmored targets, but can greatly reduce ammo needed on fully armored ones. Just target the bridge, engines or ammo to destroy a ship from the inside out.
- Laser guided ammo is simply a regular explosive round that goed wherever you point the cursor. They’re not really effective, unless you have trouble hitting targets or need some added precision to hit a single, exposed target.
- Proximity fuse bombs are rounds that explode when they’re at a certain distance of an enemy. They explode into many small fragments and act a lot like lower caliber rounds. They arent very effective against armored targets, but take out enemy projectiles with ease.