By Ian Roth
I don’t consider myself “old” by any stretch of the imagination, but, when I look at my dusty game console on my desk, I’m reminded that my gaming days are long behind me. Like many teenagers of the late and early 2010s, I indulged myself in the cultural revolution that was the Triple-A First-Person Shooter. Many of my fondest memories from my childhood involve raining hell from above a landscape in a Lockheed AC-130 gunship and being belligerently verbally assaulted in the game lobby by someone much, much older than me.
Perhaps many of you never experienced such wonders in your life like getting repeatedly killed by the same guy shooting grenades across the map, but I have. And maybe some of you are rummaging around your attic to find that long lost HDMI cable so you can get your gaming console running again just to play Star Wars: Squadrons. So whether you’re a first timer, first-person shooter expert, or an ex-MLG professional getting back into the swing of things, I decided to compile a few tips to make that transition as smooth as possible!
TIP #1: Use equipment that suits your own personal play style.
In 2010, at the peak of Modern Warfare 2’s lifespan, there was not a single teenager that didn’t want to have the illest trickshot montage on their 4-subscriber YouTube channel. I can also confirm that everyone wanted to be a master of the ballistic knife in Call of Duty: Black Ops. Nevertheless, there were only a few people in the world that could master such tasks at a competitive and viable level of play. The hardest pill to swallow growing up was realizing that some people just will never be able to pull off even a single 360 no-scope final Kill Cam.
This is why I pass unto you the sound advice of running equipment and load outs that suit you the best. But, be advised, it might take a while to figure out just what that is. In terms of flying around in Squadrons, you might need a few games to find out which fighter you like the best and which one suits how you want to play the game. It will take even longer for you to figure out which six or seven attachments you want to equip. Not everybody will be able to be successful in the Y-wing (though I’ll try my damndest to be) and that’s OK. Maybe you’ll be able to be more successful as a support class or a dogfight specialist.
Not only will using the right equipment help boost your KDR (that’s “Kill-Death Ratio” for those of you privileged enough to never know the stress that comes with it), but it will also help your team out immensely. No one wants to be the weak link in their squad. When you do your own part and play your class to its absolute limit, you will only help your team score more victories in the long run. It’ll always be OK to experiment a little and switch up how you go about things if something isn’t working, but make sure you have a base play style to fall back on before trying new things in the middle of matches.
TIP #2: Know thy maps.
The one thing that separated the men from the kids-who-thought-they-were-men-but-still-voice-cracked in the first-person shooters of old was the super in-depth map knowledge that some players had. There was always someone on the other team that knew where you were about to spawn and what route you were going to take out of the spawn before you had even died. In all fairness, that annoyed me to no end, but, in retrospect, that player was absolutely dominating in all forms.
The difference between having a great match and a terrible match can usually come down to how well you know each of the maps. Very few of us have gotten to get a glimpse of the six Star Wars: Squadrons maps so we’ll all be on the same playing field for the first few weeks. However, the quicker you can learn where and when players spawn, which routes they take to the objectives, where the choke points are, and how to use certain attachments in certain areas the quicker you will shoot to the top of the leaderboard. I can not stress enough how important getting into a rhythm is and being on top of where your team is versus where you are versus where the other team is. My best games in other shooters (I went 85-5 in Battlefront (2015) once. Crazy, I know!) always came when I was anticipating where the other team would be at any given time. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and that will happen naturally, but you can learn the nuances of the game mechanics and be able to have that kind of performance regularly.
Because there are only two game modes, Dogfight and Fleet Battles, the learning curve will be a lot shorter compared to games like Modern Warfare that have both a ton of maps and a ton of game modes that lend themselves to unique matches every time. With that being said, because Squadrons takes place in an open landscape, finding specific points on each map that are the most traversed will still be difficult.
TIP #3: Play the objective.
There is only one person worse than the “Hating the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy is My Personality” type and that’s the person who doesn’t play the objective in multiplayer games. At least the person who hates the Sequel Trilogy has a goal in life. If you are someone who doesn’t want to hit the hard points on the enemy capital ship, or drop a resupply for your teammates, or at least call out where the opposing players are, you are essentially dead weight. Sure, you might have the best KDR in your lobby, but did you actually do anything? Did your team even win the match? If you answered no to those last two questions, it might be time to reevaluate your play style.
As the great New York Jets coach Herm Edwards once said: “You play to win the game.” So true Herm, so true. Playing the objective is how you can assure your team will be the decisive victors every match. Does an area of the map need to be locked down? Got it. Does a capital ship hardpoint need a taste of your ion cannons? Let ‘em have it. Not only will your friends love you for it, but there’s a good chance you’ll be amongst the highest scorers at the end of the game. Playing the objective gives the player free points. Who doesn’t want that? Free points means you rank up quicker, which means you get better equipment, which means you get better at the game. Case in point my friends.
As far as sure-fire, can’t-miss tips to play better go, those are perhaps the best three I can give. These apply to all shooters, but I realize that many of you are in the same position as I am with Star Wars: Squadrons and that you either have never played a shooter before or are just getting back into them. But, if you follow these three tips and follow your squadron, you’ll be an ace pilot in no time. I’ll see everyone up there!
About the author:
Ian Roth is the host of the TalkingWithMyHans YouTube channel and the voice behind the corresponding Twitter account, @TalkWithMyHans. With nearly a decade of audio and video production experience, he’s put himself up to the challenge of bringing an air of positivity to the Star Wars fan-base. Ian has a Bachelors degree in Broadcast Communications from Millersville University and has been a Star Wars fan for longer than he cares to remember.