Feb 7, 2012

Posted by in Breakdown | 5 Comments

Breakdown: Space Combat

Breakdown is designed to to fill that stressful void while Star Wars: The Old Republic is down for maintenance. Each Tuesday morning, we’ll look at a topic and try to break it down to the basics. In the end, we hope to educate, entertain, and prevent you from having your own Breakdown!

This week’s Breakdown is all about Space Combat! Quite frankly, this has been one of the hottest topics in Star Wars: The Old Republic, both for its implementation, and for people to just plain old talk trash back and forth between those who love it and hate it. Whether you like TOR’s Star Fox homage (I quite enjoy it) or not, it is a very rewarding (pun intended) part of the game. In this week’s Breakdown, we’re going to go over some of the basics of the system and show you some of the perks from doing space combat, and some of the tips you may not have known about if you’ve found it frustratingly difficult.

First, let’s start with some definitions:

Fleet Commendations: This is one of the rewards you get for completing Space Battles and Space Operations (more on this later). These can be used at your fleet station, and a handful of other planets, to buy things from the Space Commendation Vendor. You can buy not only ship upgrades, but also item boxes and social gear sets as well (more on this later as well).

Space Battle: It may seem obvious, but there is a distinction to be made here. The actual mission, is what you’ll see when you’re going there, such as “Balosar Outpost.” You can do these as many times as you want, and you will recieve XP, credits, and some Fleet Commendations.

Operation: While this may seem a bit confusing at first, you’ll understand it in game when you see it in context. Operations are the missions you get from your fleet communicator in the cockpit of your ship. These are repeatable daily missions (in most cases), such as “Operation Noble Gamit” which asks that you complete “Achenar Interception” and “Makem Te Assault” space battles. Completing one of these can net you 10 to 20 thousand XP and several thousand credits when completed at level. This can be a great way to fun your early level crafting, or grab you that last bub or two you need to get the next level.

Equipping Your Ship

When it comes to space combat, you should think of your ship like a companion character. C2-N2 for example, has absolutely no equipment. He’s not nearly as good as any of your other companions, and you shouldn’t except any more out of your ship when you haven’t given it any gear either! The ship tab (next to the companion tab on your character sheet) will show you the six equipment slots, and the 4 “power” slots. I call them that because it’s not really gear, but more similar to a consumable than a piece of equipment (though they never go away). The slots are as follows:

  • Ship Equipment
  1. Beam Charger (grade 1 available at level 15, grade 3 at 26, grade 5 at 40) This determines how much damage each blaster bolt does.
  2. Beam Generator (grade 1 available at level 14, grade 3 at 24, grade 5 at 39) This determines the rate of fire for your ship blasters.
  3. Energy Shield (grade 1 available at level 16, grade 3 at 28, grade 5 at 41) This tells you how much damage your shield can absorb.
  4. Missile Magazine (grade 1 at level 17, grade 3 at 31, grade 5 at 42) This is how many missiles you have at your disposal in a mission (you never need to buy more). When you’re in space, even if the counter reads “0” but you can still see the “yellow” missiles, then you still have more to fire.
  5. Shield Regenerator (grade 1 at level 16, grade 3 at 29, grade 5 at 41) This will tell you how many points of damage absorption your shield recovers, in seconds. Also worth noting, your shields will only regenerate if you are not firing blasters.
  6. Ship Armor (grade 1 available at level 14, grade 3 at 23, grade 5 at 38) This is basically the health of your ship.
  • Ship Power Equipment
  1. Power Conversion Module (Available at level 25 for 30 Fleet Commendations) This is actually my favorite device, as it has two functions. The first you’ll see is that it increases the damage of your blaster by a substantial amount at the cost of reducing your shield regeneration rate by half (and remember you don’t regenerate shields when you’re shooting blasters). The second thing it can do is boost your shield regeneration by  a very large amount, but at the expense of your blasters doing almost no damage. See below for a better visual. IMHO this really makes space a lot more fun as well as a bit more tactical.
  2. Electronic Warfare Pod (Available at level 35 for 90 Fleet Commendations) This grants you the ability to “Jam” your enemies. It effectively makes it so they can’t even shoot at you, since they can’t target you (I guess none of your opponents use the Force). This is a nice “oh no!” button if you need to get your shield back up quickly, but my favorite time to use it is when you’re flying past the giant opposing faction ship and it’s shooting at you with 40 gun turrets.
  3. EMP Generator (Available at level 45 for 150 Fleet Commendations) A fun little toy, this is basically a charged (it takes a second or two to activate) AoE ability for your ship. Think of the EMP blast from the Matrix sequel. I’ve found that the best use for this, is in mine field missions. Wait till you get right in the middle and activate it, and it will take out almost the entire mine field!
  4. Proton Torpedo Tube (Available at level 50 for 50 Fleet Commendations) Now things are starting to get a little bit tricky (not Trekkie, those would be Photon Torpedos :P) These can be used to complete certain special bonus objectives (such as destroying the bridge/station with those high powered shields you could never break through) but can also make firing your missiles at regular shielded targets frustrating. The trick here is to fire your torpedo at one shielded target, and then while your torpedo is reloading, you can spam your regular missiles and take out another target.
Hold down the right mouse button and keep the reticule over the target to lock on, and when you see the animation on the right, let go to fire!

Hold down the right mouse button and keep the reticule over the target to lock on, and when you see the animation on the right, let go to fire!

There are also a few other things you can spend your fleet commendations on. If you remember from my previous article on social gear sets then you remember the Pilot Set that you could buy. Well, BioWare recently added two more, one of which looks just like one of my favorite sets.

Civilian Pilot

Civilian Pilot

This is the Civilian Pilot set, which only requires social rank 1. It’s still light armor, but it sure looks cool! :)

Republic Pilot

Republic Pilot

This is the republic pilot set, which requires social rank 3.

You can also buy gear boxes, which contain gear just like any other, but can be purchased using your fleet commendations. The gear inside of them are level 50, but come in Premium (20 commendations), Prototype (100 commendations), and Artifact quality (375 commendations). These items could net you some great gear, or help you put some stuff up on the auction house. If you’re dedicated and do ALL the space dailies, you can net somewhere around 100 commendations a day.

As you can see, there is a lot more to do with space missions than is obvious at first glance, and with time maybe this system will be added to, and maybe even expanded.

Hopefully this will help you next time you decide to fight out there among the stars! As always, I hope I’ve helped educate you on more of the basics, and I hope you’ll join me next week when the servers are down for another Breakdown!

  1. Personally I love space missions and the objectives, it’s a nice break from questing and/or PvPing especially when you want to play the game casually, bonus you gain XP without having to think too much. Never really bought much with the Coms but I will now that I’ve read through this.

  2. As a sidenote, there are Grade 2, Grade 4 and Epic (Grade 6) starship equipment created by Cybertech crafters if I remember right.

    Grade 2 and 4 are almost equivalent to Grade 1 and grade 3 buyable items respectively, with a small bump in stats, but most of the time you can find them at the GTN with lower prices than their immediate lower level counterparts (which should be purchased from NPC vendors).

    Epic grade ship equipment are usually sold at GTN at pretty hefty prices, but they offer top notch performance. If you play space battles, and have the money, buy them. You wont regret it…



  3. Good guide, I liked the information on the 4 “power” slots.

  4. Alexandrian says:

    Very minor point, but I don’t think your shield actually regenerates whilst the Electronic Warfare pod is active; it’s still extremely useful for periods of heavy damage, especially when you want to keep firing.

  5. Hi,

    this might be some helpfull advice for some.

    Firing your rockets seems a bit tricky at the beginning. I know I often misfired until i learned the principles.

    It becomes very easy once you understood how the right mouse button works for firing missiles.

    So this is my little guide to firing rockets:

    * Trivial stuff: You only have a maximum four rockets loaded. The reload takes some time. It is most efficient to use missiles as a broadside of all 4 missiles together.

    * As long as you hold down the button you can “mark” your targets fast. i.e. you fly by a turbolaser bank and mark four turbolasers in a row in less than a second.

    * Missiles are fired once you release the right mouse button. Remember to shoot your laser afterwards for a few seconds until your rocket tubes are fully loaded before using the rockets again. You can only mark as much targets as your tubes hold rockets at that moment.

    * Exception: there are targets that need more than one missile to bring them down. Quickly Mark them, release, mark them again and release for several shots.

    * Shoot your rockets only at targets you have a hard time bringing down with the laser. I use them when approaching capital ships, targeting multiple mission objectives showing up only briefly or groups of fast ships coming fast at me from straight ahead.

    (I.e. at Archenar interception there is one point when a dozen ships come at you from straght ahead. Mark a group of four, release missiles, take out the next four with lasers, mark four more …,)

    * Make a point of learning to bring down (the easier) mission objectives with the laser only for getting the best results from bonus missions. You will then have enough rockets left for the capital ships that you sometimes only pass for mere seconds.

    (I.e. with the power converter it is possible to bring down the laser turrets in Makem Te assault. Shields need rockets though.)

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