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Training Lecture #3: Piloting transports, or how I learned to love the turrent


There were a few giggles and whispering comments as Charbel "Solo" Tengroth walked up to the lectern, visibly uncomfortable wearing his semi-formal dress uniform. The assembly quieted down as he looked up from his notes and looked out over the assembled pilots. They were mostly from Wolfshead squadron, but Solo could also discern some unfamiliar faces in the assembly. Taking a deep breath, he started his lecture:

"Since our squadron now also is a part of Alliance Intelligence, and as such can be ordered to participate in covert operations using civilian space craft, I have been asked to brief you on some useful survival techniques.

First of all, this briefing will deal with turreted transports, such as the Correllian or even Muurian line of vessels. Secondly I will assume you're familiar with the alliance pilot jargon concerning starfighter handling."

At this point there were a fair amount of giggles, and it looked like the audience was going to erupt in general laughter when Wolfshead squadron CO suddenly stood up, "Oh will you just shut up! This lecture is being taped to be distributed to other Alliance training facilities, he's supposed to talk like this so just can it and give the man a break! Ok, Solo, go on."

It was with some relief that Solo continued his lecture,

"Let's get down to business then!

The briefing will be conducted as follows: First I will give some general advice, and follow up with tactics on how to handle specific situations. (For tips on how to get through particular missions in X-Wing: Alliance please consult the cruiser Liberty).

General tips

One thing to always keep in mind is that the transport is not a starfighter! Even if you're flying a heavily modified ship like the Otana or the Millennium Falcon, which has the speed to match a starfighter, it will still not behave like one. Learn to exploit the advantages of the transport and to evade its weaknesses, and you'll find yourself at the controls of a very versatile craft.

Due to the sheer bulk of a transport compared with the fighters we normally pilot, situation awareness is an even bigger issue when flying these ships. Crashing into things will have you lose your shields, or worse, in no time. Also, when approached from directly above or below, the transport offers a huge profile. Make it a habit to rotate your craft as to present the smallest target area possible to hostiles.
To keep track of the bogeys you should check your forward and rear scopes, and use the 'L' key freely since it gives you an instant indication of the position of the targeted craft relative to yours. Rotating your ship gives you two advantages when in a transport equipped with a ventral turret: You present a small profile, and both your guns can be trained on the target. When using autofire, 'F' key, you should listen for the "thump-thump" sound of both turrets firing when aligning your craft.

A neat feature of the Correllian line of transports is that the turrets have their own, dedicated, power system. This means that, unlike the forward facing cannons, the charge capacitors can never be depleted. This also means that in a situation when extra speed is needed you can safely redirect all your laser power to engines while still maintaining reasonable defensive capabilities (ELS 00/50).

Transports have very strong shields, but they recharge slowly. So slow in fact, that it is rarely worthwhile to try and recharge them other than in no-threat environments. Use your threat indicators to stay out of harms way as much as possible to maintain shield strength.

In a combat situation, always keep your speed as high as possible. Due to its size and lack of maneuverability, the transport is an easy prey when going at less than top speed. If you are getting hit a lot, increase speed by redirecting as much power as possible to engines and use the turrets to keep the enemy at bay (ELS 00/50 or 00/25). Also, since you have turrets, you shouldn't throttle down to 1/3 unless you really need to do a tight turn (it takes forever to accelerate to top speed), instead always move at full throttle.

Again, for emphasis: speed is your greatest ally. Rather than having to reduce speed to recharge the main gun(s), as soon as they are depleted it is almost always better to redirect laser recharge to engines and to rely entirely on the turrets.

Let's now look at a few specific situations!


Dogfighting with multiple opponents is probably the most common situation you will encounter, and the most dangerous too.

Against slower (and shielded) fighters you can keep the main gun charged and use the added firepower at your discretion, keep an eye on your threat display though and be prepared to direct more power to engines when needed to avoid being hit.
When dealing with a multitude of slower fighters "rabbiting" can be a useful tactic to "thin out the field". So, head out from the battle and start picking off your opponents using the turrets. It's a good idea to put the ship on autopilot and jump in the turret yourself ('G' key), since you then get a higher rate of fire and longer range.

As usual, it is wise to stay on target until it is destroyed, this is especially true against shielded opponents who otherwise might get a chance to recharge their shields. However, in certain situations it is wiser to just try and hold your opponents off. Use the 'E' key to target the fighter targeting you, and then press 'F' to have the turrets repel him. It's more efficient than choosing the defensive fire program ('X' key) in keeping you out of trouble. Repeat this as soon as you see someone trying to get a lock and you will find yourself having a much easier time keeping your shields up. This is a very useful technique against swarms of fighters, especially TIEs.

Fighting transports and other small starships

You can either go about this the way you usually do when piloting a starfighter, just remember to lock the turrets in the forward facing position. Or, you can take advantage of your greater speed and circle the target from a distance while tracking them with your turret guns. Against these smaller targets it is important not to weave completely at random to avoid throwing your guns off. Try to turn in such a way that your target is at a constant bearing relative you. (N.B. Think of this as the "strafing" you do in a FPS game). If you do this right you will find that your guns are constantly finding their mark while your opponent still has a hard time tracking you.

Fighting slow or static targets

Either head straight for the blind spot (for a guide, visit, or move in at high speed and and keep turning within gun range while letting your turrets blast away. You'll whittle away the shields fast enough. The second strategy is preferred if your target still has fighters protecting it in the area. If you keep your speed high enough, the turbo-lasers will rarely find their mark and you can avoid flying out of range to recharge shields (and let your target recharge theirs). Strafing, as mentioned above, is also very useful here. This concludes this lesson, and I'd be glad to answer your questions!"

(Mail your questions to Solo )

Random Quote:
"Asteroids do not concern me, Captain Needa" -- Darth Vader

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Last update of this page: 28/08/2003 - 05:14