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Winged Mercs: Dropship/ADS Help and General Discussion [Updated 9/21]

Author
Fatal Absolution
Bleeding Sun Conglomerate
#1 Posted: 2015.08.28 12:44  |  Edited by: Vulpes Dolosus
Hello aspiring and veteran pilots alike!

I've created this post as a place where dropship pilots can come and learn how to fly, help other pilots, and politely discuss all things dropship related.

A bit about me: I have been a pilot since Uprising 1.3, and since then I have participated in numerous PCs, both for my corporation and ringing, I have experience with all dropships, and arguably most impressive, I have managed to net over 250m ISK while flying.

This post will become an archive of tips and guides I will try to manage and organize. Feel free to ask any specific question and I'll do my best to answer, as well as list any useful guides, videos, graphics, etc that you think will help other pilots.

I would like to squad up with new pilots to help with flying technique, including renting out ADSs, with the only requirements being that you're respectful and teachable AND HAVE A MIC. I will help with anything from basics of flying and landing to ADS combat maneuvers. Just send me a mail and we'll work out the details. (I may not be on regularly due to school/work)

I'm sort of new to this guide-thing so I hope we can all work together to benefit flying in Dust 514.

Fly safe everyone. o7
Fatal Absolution
Bleeding Sun Conglomerate
#2 Posted: 2015.08.28 12:44  |  Edited by: Vulpes Dolosus
Where To Start:

-Judge Rhadamanthus' Flight Tutorial Series: Despite his bad reputation around here, Judge's series on DS flight is the best tutorials for flying. For basic DS flying and landing, you just need to watch the first video. ADS pilots should watch the whole series and practice regularly.

*If you want to practice flying in-game with me, I will assume you have at least watched the first video and understand basic controls.*

-Skill Plan

First and foremost, you need a way to finance your ships on the ground. You can't run a ADS every match, some times the map isn't right or the enemy has a lot of AV. In these cases you need to be able to support your team (an your wallet) in other ways. I suggest you skill some infantry role, though it doesn't need to be very high. Amarr logi is suggested for the link bonus.

These next skills should be obtained before you begin flying dropships: the very first thing you should get is the basic dropship/ADS skills; only get these to level 3/1 respectively so you have access to the ships for practice. Vehicle Core Upgrades should be leveled to 5 ASAP; this will allow you to use proto fitting mods which are essential for many fittings, as well as afterburners which are the saving grace of any dropship. From there lvl3 of your desired defensive skill should work for a start as you practice, but get to 5 ASAP as well.

From here it's optimization: I highly suggest maxing your defenses as soon as you can; that means getting level 5 defensive upgrades, some fitting skills as fits demand it (use www.protofits.com to plan this out), and for armor, Armor Compensation and Repair Systems (lvl4 is acceptable for both). Engineering skills, both Core Management and Calibration (the recharge one being the most important) should be leveled up next, at least to 4. Either during this or after, you may begin to skill up your turrets. After the Operation skill, Reload Speed it the most important skill in the turret tree, followed by Ammo Capacity.

Once you're comfortable with flying and your fits, you can begin to level the ADS and Racial ADS skills and top off Engineering, Turret, and Defensive skills.

TL;DR: Essentials (first and second paragraph) > Defensive Basics > Engineering > Max Defenses > Start Turret Skills (Reload) > Optimize

-Popular ADS Fits

This is a list of the most popular and viable (imo) fits that I've used and see in-game. These should be something for new pilots to train toward and base their fits off of, though if you can't fit them it may be possible to use lower tiered mods.

:Python:

Hardener This is what I currently run. It is a very tanky ship and can handle most threats, at least with enough time to get away. Due to the somewhat recent change to shield hardener recharge delay, it is now able to feasibly able to attack in "waves" by engaging with the hardener up and retreating while on cool down. Of course, you must preemptively activate the hardener or else risk losing a significant percentage of your defenses (doubly true since the hardener delay). Some turret fitting skills may be needed to fit an XT and enhanced AB.

Buffer This had been my tried and true workhorse since I began flying. Packing as much shield hp as I could, coupled with the Python's significant innate shield regen and complex AB cool down, this ADS could zip in and out of combat very quickly. I HIGHLY suggest new pilots to model their starting ADSs after this since it is easily scalable with skill levels (just add as much hp as your skills will allow), has very little module management, and is very forgiving if caught off guard.

Booster This was an experimental fit I came up with a while ago. The idea is very similar to the Buffer fit, but with an added shield Booster to help in a pinch and restart regen when escaping. It works very well, but has a few drawbacks. First is the fitting. As you can see, it requires maxed turret fitting skills to work, and I don't suggesting down grading any of the modules due to their cool down times. The other problem is the issue with shield boosters, which, if improperly timed, can glitch and not give any bonus hp. Still it is an excellent fit and served me well.

:Incubus:

Buffer This is the only true Incubus fit in my opinion (see Hardener dissent below). Similar to the Python Buffer, the idea is to stack hp then escape and repair/recharge if fired upon. The Armor Compensation skill really helps with agility and the Repair Systems skill cuts down on armor repair time, and on top of this fit requiring level 4 armor fitting, this is a very skill intensive fit. Both a proto missile and rail will fit easily.

My reasoning against a hardener is a threefold: first, the number of slots and fitting space on the Incubus is too small to accommodate. With three lows, one must always be filled with a repairer and if you're using the other for a hardener, the third must be used for a plate to achieve desirable ehp, however the Incubus lacks to fitting to use 120mm plates without a fitting mod. Second, while the uptime on the hardeners is significant, no hardener fit will last long against any AV, forcing you to retreat. You then have to suffer the long recharge time of the hardener since it makes up a significant portion of your defenses. And lastly, the benefits just aren't that great. Compare this hardener fit, it only gains about 700ehp and slightly better repair, but still suffers all the problems mentioned above.

Please share any fits you like to use or are considering
Fatal Absolution
Bleeding Sun Conglomerate
#3 Posted: 2015.08.28 12:45  |  Edited by: Vulpes Dolosus
-Standard Dropship Fitting and Flying Theory

Standard dropships, in my opinion, are the most underutilized asset in Dust. Since their buff, they provide a solid, defensible platform for aerial assault and infiltration. While they require essentially taking a man out of the fight, I believe the benefits they provide to a well organized squad out weigh the drawback. Here I will explain my thoughts behind fitting and flying these ships.

:FItting:

When fitting dropships, the very first mod you should always fit is an afterburner. There is no other single module that can improve the survivability of a dropship as much as an AB and they should be fit onto every single dropship you ever fly. I can't stress this enough: there is no tank you can fit that can survive continuous AV and will benefit by forgoing an AB.

Even though a dropship has two turret hard points, I believe it is better to only use one turret, except in the case of needing to transport more people. The reason for this is because it is difficult to utilize both turrets at the same time. For both turrets to be effective, the DS must either be facing directly toward the enemy at a distance or directly over top of them. The first case gives each turret range of motion to engage in while also risking the missiles hitting the side of the dropship. The second case puts the pilots in a bad position to react to incoming threats as well as prevents him from seeing the enemies below in case he needs to move the ship for better positioning. Alternating turrets is impractical since it's usually faster to reload than swing around have have the second turret engage and adds extra movements. These reasons on top of sacrificing fitting space for another turret (as well as needing one extra player) are reasons why I forgo the second turret. The side the turret is one is up to personal preference.

As for which turret to use, I find the missile to be the most reliable. Rail hit detection is very screwy and unreliable while their unbonused AV potential isn't much better than a missile's. Blasters are impractical in every possible way for a dropship; they require you to be close to the ground, increasing the risk of crashing and your gunner being shot out. Missiles provide a lot of utility for anti-infantry, -vehicle, and equipment and have much better hit detection with splash. The only downside is that you may occasionally hit the side of the dorpship, damaging the gunner, but as long as you're careful and use a heavy suit (preferably shield), there should be few issues.

As far as other mods (damage, scanners, MCRUs, etc), I don't use them very much. Defenses are a priority and honestly, the utility most those mods give is lackluster at best. A Grimsnes can usually field one extra high slot mod; I wouldn't consider using one on a Myron since it takes a primary tank slot.

When fitting defenses, I prefer to avoid hardeners. While they provide great bonuses to defense, they impede the view of the gunner too much. If you can't attack while under fire, you won't be much use to your team. Despite this, DSs can still be very tanky, even in today's AV:

Myron Dual Booster - This is my preferred Myron fit. It can withstand several AV volleys before needing to boost, and by using a booster right after being shot, you can kickstart your regen for extra hp, usually reaching full health before being hit again. Also, by timing taking damage and single boosting correctly, it's possible to cycle between boosters, using one and regenning while the other cools down. If worst comes to worst, ABing and boosting while you run spreads out the damage taken, allowing you to regen more between shots. It does have its draw backs, poorly timed boosts can be bothersome and juggling all the active mods can be a bit cumbersome in tight situations.

Grimsnes Buffer - This thing is a flying tank, simply put. Huge buffer with great health regen. Usually you regen from low health in the time it takes your AB to recharge. The highlights of the fit are its simplicity and utility. You only have one active mod to worry about, so no juggling mods like the Myron fit above, just fly in and AB out when in trouble. It is also able to use it's utility high for MCRUs or scanners, though you may need to meta the AB or plate.

:Flying:

(Will be added Soon™)
Only N00bs
#4 Posted: 2015.08.28 13:03
Sorry for this of topic reply but you could also make a post in the locker room for Dropships or vechicles in general, something like "The Bastion" for sentinels or "The Barbershop" for scouts
Fatal Absolution
Bleeding Sun Conglomerate
#5 Posted: 2015.08.28 13:05
Mad Kras wrote:
Sorry for this of topic reply but you could also make a post in the locker room for Dropships or vechicles in general, something like "The Bastion" for sentinels or "The Barbershop" for scouts

In time, I hope to get the flight school 'off the ground' (pun heavily intended) first and maybe try and build some sort of pilot community before doing something like that.
WarRavens
Imperium Eden
#6 Posted: 2015.09.04 00:53
cool, ill drop by later...

but we dont really have wings do we?

Less QQ more PewPew

Fatal Absolution
Bleeding Sun Conglomerate
#7 Posted: 2015.09.04 05:38
jordy mack wrote:
cool, ill drop by later...

but we dont really have wings do we?

Sure. My schedule is a bit wacky since school has started, but if I'm on hit me up with questions or squad invites and I'll be happy to help.

And we soar on the wings of nanites.
Fatal Absolution
Bleeding Sun Conglomerate
#8 Posted: 2015.09.09 15:18
Added:

-Starter Skill Plan

-Popular Fits
Evzones
#9 Posted: 2015.09.10 21:57
Hope this takes off (pun intended), I've added your chat, hopefully more pilots will too.

I've been away a year, with brief logins, what the heck happened with Judge?

Not new, just new to you.

Fatal Absolution
Bleeding Sun Conglomerate
#10 Posted: 2015.09.11 02:53
Lanius Pulvis wrote:
Hope this takes off (pun intended), I've added your chat, hopefully more pilots will too.

I've been away a year, with brief logins, what the heck happened with Judge?

Thanks! If you ever see me on I'll be more than willing to help out, answer questions, etc. I'm isually on about 00:00 Eve time (0800 PM EST).

Judge was a member of CPM0 (iirc) and basically just walked away, so he was kicked from his position.
Vherokior Combat Logistics
Minmatar Republic
#11 Posted: 2015.09.13 19:00
I have some questions

1. how would one go about improving there gun game with an ADS?

2. when do you prefer to use first and third person view?

3. what would you rate the weapons you can load on it and why?
Fatal Absolution
Bleeding Sun Conglomerate
#12 Posted: 2015.09.13 21:37
Private Part's wrote:
I have some questions

1. how would one go about improving there gun game with an ADS?

2. when do you prefer to use first and third person view?

3. what would you rate the weapons you can load on it and why?

1) Practice practice practice practice practice. After that more practice. When I started out, I liked to stay in the redline and pick a land feature or spot in a city and shoot at it. I'd simulate coming from different angles, different altitudes, orbiting, etc.

2) Depends on the situation, but usually 3rd. When assaulting the ground and for general flying I like 3rd because of the wide angle you get; it's easier to see targets and hazards. The ship does get in the way a bit but the passive scan chevron is usually visible, so I just aim a little below that. I use 1st person when doing anti-air fighting, especially with the Incubus, but sometimes it's necessary to toggle between the two.

As an aside, a lot of pilots want to be able to move the first person camera to look down and shoot people. I'm personally against this for various reasons.

3) I assume you mean turrets. On a Python you should always use missiles. Incubus can use missiles or rails, depending on if you want to kill infantry or vehicles. Blasters are bad on dropships because they need to be in close, which brings a dropship close to the ground and enemy fire. Side gunners should always use missiles because it's much easier to hit targets (unless you're just shooting vehicles, then rails are fine), but be careful that they dont hit the sides of the ship because the splash will kill them. Rails have fickle hit detection which is compounded with every little movement the dropship makes (eg when trying to keep still).
Heiroglyphic
#13 Posted: 2015.09.14 04:26
i'll take a look around. I dropped a shite-ton of SP into pythons, stocked up 36 million worth of them.....ima 'git gud' ADS'ing eventually!!!
Evzones
#14 Posted: 2015.09.17 15:25  |  Edited by: Lanius Pulvis
Vulpes Dolosus wrote:
Lanius Pulvis wrote:
Hope this takes off (pun intended), I've added your chat, hopefully more pilots will too.

I've been away a year, with brief logins, what the heck happened with Judge?

Thanks! If you ever see me on I'll be more than willing to help out, answer questions, etc. I'm isually on about 00:00 Eve time (0800 PM EST).

Judge was a member of CPM0 (iirc) and basically just walked away, so he was kicked from his position.


That's unfortunate about Judge, but real life does have a tendency to interfere, especially a managerial position like he held. Real life kept me mostly out of the game for the past year too, so I can't judge (no pun intended).

But I digress, are Incubi still the, well I guess Flavor Of The Month is an understatement, let's just go with Flavor of the Year. When I left, current TTP and weapon/tank balance made the Python only really usable against vehicles.

Do HAVs still provide area denial for an entire map, or can you survive long enough to maneuver if you're skilled?

It's a shame 1st Airborne is locked now, that's where I hung out the most, are there any channels up that are pilot heavy?

Not new, just new to you.

Evzones
#15 Posted: 2015.09.17 15:33
Vulpes Dolosus wrote:
Private Part's wrote:
I have some questions

1. how would one go about improving there gun game with an ADS?

2. when do you prefer to use first and third person view?

3. what would you rate the weapons you can load on it and why?

1) Practice practice practice practice practice. After that more practice. When I started out, I liked to stay in the redline and pick a land feature or spot in a city and shoot at it. I'd simulate coming from different angles, different altitudes, orbiting, etc.

2) Depends on the situation, but usually 3rd. When assaulting the ground and for general flying I like 3rd because of the wide angle you get; it's easier to see targets and hazards. The ship does get in the way a bit but the passive scan chevron is usually visible, so I just aim a little below that. I use 1st person when doing anti-air fighting, especially with the Incubus, but sometimes it's necessary to toggle between the two.

As an aside, a lot of pilots want to be able to move the first person camera to look down and shoot people. I'm personally against this for various reasons.

3) I assume you mean turrets. On a Python you should always use missiles. Incubus can use missiles or rails, depending on if you want to kill infantry or vehicles. Blasters are bad on dropships because they need to be in close, which brings a dropship close to the ground and enemy fire. Side gunners should always use missiles because it's much easier to hit targets (unless you're just shooting vehicles, then rails are fine), but be careful that they dont hit the sides of the ship because the splash will kill them. Rails have fickle hit detection which is compounded with every little movement the dropship makes (eg when trying to keep still).


Just an addendum, one of the hardest things for me when I learned was the transition from redline practice to a two way live fire range. I would recommend, if you know there are plenty of FG and/or SL on the map, put away your ADS and pull out a DS and practice flying as if it were an ADS. That way you can get a feel for how the strikes from those weapons affect your stability and on-station time.

Not new, just new to you.

Fatal Absolution
Bleeding Sun Conglomerate
#16 Posted: 2015.09.17 15:46
Lanius Pulvis wrote:
Vulpes Dolosus wrote:
Lanius Pulvis wrote:
Hope this takes off (pun intended), I've added your chat, hopefully more pilots will too.

I've been away a year, with brief logins, what the heck happened with Judge?

Thanks! If you ever see me on I'll be more than willing to help out, answer questions, etc. I'm isually on about 00:00 Eve time (0800 PM EST).

Judge was a member of CPM0 (iirc) and basically just walked away, so he was kicked from his position.


That's unfortunate about Judge, but real life does have a tendency to interfere, especially a managerial position like he held. Real life kept me mostly out of the game for the past year too, so I can't judge (no pun intended).

But I digress, are Incubi still the, well I guess Flavor Of The Month is an understatement, let's just go with Flavor of the Year. When I left, current TTP and weapon/tank balance made the Python only really usable against vehicles.

Do HAVs still provide area denial for an entire map, or can you survive long enough to maneuver if you're skilled?

It's a shame 1st Airborne is locked now, that's where I hung out the most, are there any channels up that are pilot heavy?

Large rails got a range Nerf to about 250m iirc, so on larger maps they aren't much of a problem compared to what they were.

Idk what you mean by the Python/Incubus comment, perhaps you mixed them up? Python is the shield and Incubus is armor. Python still has the missile rof bonus, though it got a serious Nerf (same with the Incubus and rails). Both are just as sturdy in the face of AV if fitted right, so it's really just personal preference (I feel the Python flys better, though I use a rail incubus for AV).

I don't know of any, which is why I'm tying to get my channel up and running.
Fatal Absolution
#17 Posted: 2015.09.20 08:57
Vulpes Dolosus wrote:
Mad Kras wrote:
Sorry for this of topic reply but you could also make a post in the locker room for Dropships or vechicles in general, something like "The Bastion" for sentinels or "The Barbershop" for scouts

In time, I hope to get the flight school 'off the ground' (pun heavily intended) first and maybe try and build some sort of pilot community before doing something like that.

Call it "The Landing Pad". Also dropping in to see your guide, and.... shameless advertising!

99% of what Derrith says is stupidity. -D3lta Blitzkrieg

Bittervet ADS pilot, redheads are hot.

Fatal Absolution
Bleeding Sun Conglomerate
#18 Posted: 2015.09.20 10:36  |  Edited by: Vulpes Dolosus
Derrith Erador wrote:
Vulpes Dolosus wrote:
Mad Kras wrote:
Sorry for this of topic reply but you could also make a post in the locker room for Dropships or vechicles in general, something like "The Bastion" for sentinels or "The Barbershop" for scouts

In time, I hope to get the flight school 'off the ground' (pun heavily intended) first and maybe try and build some sort of pilot community before doing something like that.

Call it "The Landing Pad". Also dropping in to see your guide, and.... shameless advertising!

Thanks! It would probably be better if I leave that sort of thing to someone more socially apt.

I was going to say I wish I saw your guide sooner, then I saw I was the first replier... Shocked Guess my memory is a bit rusty.Roll

I'll link your guide in here and continue to add my own thoughts and experiences. Feel free to follow and add your advice and corrections to whatever I or others may write.
Forty-Nine Fedayeen
#19 Posted: 2015.09.21 07:43
But what if we want to be pilots and can't afford a mic...

This post has been edited by Devadander.

Fatal Absolution
Bleeding Sun Conglomerate
#20 Posted: 2015.09.21 14:12
DustPllayer wrote:
But what if we want to be pilots and can't afford a mic...

You can still be a pilot, I just won't me much help in game. One-on-one help requires real time corrections, using a lot more words than would feasible in a text box. Not to mention you shouldn't open chat while flying, and landing every time to read would not be very practical either. Essentially, it's just a hassle.

You can still be a good pilot. I taught myself how to fly with much less than the resources I've listed above. It takes some time, patience, and isk, but it can be done and has been done my many others. I'm just here as a resource to other prospective pilots.

I will say that I highly suggest buying mic, even a cheeper one. The social aspect of Dust is one of it's best features and opens many more fun opportunities.
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