Stellar Frontier Tips and Tricks for Mid-Level Players
--- Instalment One ---

Flt. Adm. -Phoenix-
Fleet Command - H.O.P.E. & J.F.L.

:::Preliminary Remarks:::

After getting used to the general idea of SF, and getting accustomed to flying around, engaging in battles, colonizing, etc., players generally begin to become interested in playing for the purpose of gaining higher ranks. The aim of this guide is to assist players with techniques for improving their game score, and their kill count, which are the two primary factors in determining a player's rank.

Over the coming weeks I shall be submitting a group of instalments on tips and tricks, each time focusing on specific topics.

:::Tips and Tricks for Refitting:::

Refitting your ship with the right equipment for the task that you wish to carry out is an essential skill in SF. You will very quickly learn that even an un-refitted Dreadnaught is no match for a properly refitted Scout. The exact combination of equipment you may choose can vary greatly, as can your choice of craft - there is no one "winning" combination which will always defeat any other vessel - some of the highest-ranking players in the game use Destroyers or even Scouts, and others, such as myself, use Dreadnaughts. No matter whether you choose to aim for speed, for high shields, or for great fire-power, make sure that you are aware of your decision, and that it is in line with what you wish to do in the game. For example, Destroyers are often very useful in colonisation, because of their great speed, allowing you to move colonies faster than in the larger (and slower) ships.

You should sell equipment that you don't want, and replace it with equipment that you do. Do sell a piece of equipment to a starbase, press <Shift>-\. To scroll through the entire list for new equipment that you may purchase from a starbase, press <Shift>-<Enter>. If there is an opponent who is using guided missiles against you, you can use this method to pick up a new counter-measures device, or perhaps a cloaking device.

If you are short of cash (and lets face it, those shield sixes or boost threes aren't cheap) you may want to try the following trick to quickly gain credits: 1. Downgrade your equipment at a starbase to gain credits. 2. Pick up some equipment from power-ups at a large planet. 3. Go back to a starbase, and sell off the equipment you picked up. 4. Repeat this until you have enough credits for what you want. This usually works very fast for me - I tend to wait till I get a shield 6, drop down to a shield 1 at a starbase, get another shield 6, sell it, etc. and after doing this five or six times I have plenty of money.

Okay, so the question remains on what weapons to purchase. I have personally found no useful role for the standard issue Mass Drivers found in ships. If anything, at least upgrade them to Plasma Torpedoes (this includes Stingers and Disruptors, although I will be referring to weapons by their Terran equivalents). Plasma Torps are the most versatile weapons in the game - many of the elite players use these as their staple weapon, often filling all five weapon bays on a Dread with these. Using five sets of Plasma Torps means that if one of your shots connects with an enemy, chances are that the rest will, too, however it also means that pressing the space-bar three times will probably deplete all your power resources. Some players, including myself, tend to use only their rear weapon bay for Plasma Torps. This allows them to send a steady stream of fire towards an enemy (similar to how starbases fire), and by using the rear bay, they can use the mouse to fire backwards (directional firing shall be covered later in this paper).

As for other weapons, Flames are extremely useful against enemy colonies. Installing any more than three Flame II weapons is pretty much a waste of time, because your ship will constantly be running out of power, and your Flames will be running at less than their full capacity anyway. I find that Rapids are extremely useful in combating enemies from afar. Rapids are probably the most under-appreciated weapon in the game, however despite the fact that they aren't as powerful as Plasma Torps their great speed assists in compensating for a slow ship. Grenades are a weapon which mid-level players believe are used for packing a powerful punch at an enemy. This is one of the uses for Grenades, but by no means the only use. Grenades can often be used to "blow away" enemy fire. A possible scenario could be where: 1. An enemy engages, and sends a volley of torpedoes your way. 2. You respond by firing a grenade, and exploding it between you and the enemy vessel, "blowing away" their torpedoes. 3. Before they have enough time to regain power from their previous fire, you can fire your own weapons at them. As a side issue, the use of Grenade threes is considered to be in bad taste by most players. They are extremely powerful, and are too easy to use, and newbie players often have difficulties in avoiding total destruction when a G3 explodes nearby.

There is a great variety of weapons that I have not mentioned here. You should experiment for yourself to find the weapons that you are comfortable with. Once you find that combination, install it on the ships you fly, and lock in your weapons by selecting them on your Status display, and then pressing the backslash key, to avoid having them upgraded. Be careful when a game resets, or when you re-sync with a server, because you can often lose the system lock settings for your ship.

One more thing - five weapon bays are a lot. If you have a Dreadnaught, consider using a mixture of different weapons. Don't forget though, that Scouts have three weapon bays, and three sets of torpedoes is often quite enough to do some damage.

--- End of Instalment One. ---