Niven's Notes: Striker
(See also: Striker)
The Striker has perhaps the most flexibilty of the four infantry-based AV weapon systems, equally able to tackle MAX, Ground and Air targets. Some notes to help use it:
- Not Fire and Forget: A common misconception among NC and VS troops is the Striker is point and click. While the tracking system does mean the rocket will home in on the target, the target must be kept in the reticule to guide the rocket all the way in, to be sure of a hit. The nearest equivalent is the Starfire MAX weapon system.
- Range: The Stiker will not lock on to targets more than 250m away. Also, the rocket itself, if Dumbfired, will tend to timeout (explode) at this distance anyway. Do not waste rockets on Liberators at the flight ceiling, you will not hit, unless at a very high altitude base (Searhus Crater, Ceryshen Mesas).
- Reloads: Most AV targets will require at least one full clip (5) of rockets, meaning that anything larger that a MAX unit will need a reload to kill, dangerously increasing the TTK required. Try to plan accordingly, and always reload after each salvo; don't holster a half-full Striker.
- Outdoor Only: While the Striker can be used indoors, as a general rule the Decimator is a better choice for close-quarter battles against MAX units and Spawn/Generator destruction. The Decimator does much more damage per shot, and you are unlikely to survive for more than two shots in front of an AI MAX. Change loadout before going inside, if possible.
- Not AI: The Striker can kill non-MAX Infantry eventually, but not before they kill you with almost any MA/HA/SA weapon. A Striker is best used with a second choice of weapon; even pistols or handheld grenades provide better Anti-Infantry effectiveness.
- Best Used In Packs: Realistically, the lone Striker user can only expect to solo-kill MAX, Air Cavalry, ATV and Lightning Vehicles. Larger units may be driven off, but are equally likely to take the hits and return fire, and even deployed AMS can present problems due to spawning. In packs however, the Striker can dominate outdoor battle areas; 2+ Strikers will threaten Medium Battle Tanks, and 5+ will drive off or destory BFRs. Co-ordination is the key though; if you have a Striker and see another Striker user firing, find his target and help him out. There is no 'kill-stealing' in Planetside and alone, neither of you are likely to get the kill. Kills in this manner tend to average out, as it is largely random who gets the last rocket in.
- Use From Cover: Striker users are quickly singled out by tank gunners and Air Cav pilots, so make sure you have something solid to hide behind; trees, rocks, base walls and doors. Have an escape route ready if you can. Where possible, watch the vehicle for a few seconds before opening fire. Choosing a moment when the vehicle is busy elsewhere before firing can greatly improve chances of survival and a kill. Once the vehicle knows where you are, you typically have seconds (One clip; 5 shots) to either destroy it or force it to flee, before being killed. Having the Striker set to Dumbfire until you're ready to open fire can increase the element of suprise further, by preventing the tell-tale 'Missile Lock' warning until you're ready to actually fire.
- Run And Gun: The Striker has no appreciable Cone of Fire bloom, and can be used just as effectively while running and strafing, as crouching, so if you have been spotted, you can make it more difficult for them to return fire. If you drive a vehicle off, but fail to kill it, relocate to a new position as soon as is practical; he knows where you are, knows you are a threat and will probably be back from an different direction. This is demonstrated by the 'Reaver Rocketspam Foxtrot', whereby the Striker user runs toward, then under the craft, firing all the while, thereby dodging the worst of the hits. This works more times than you might think.
- Inventory Management: Striker ammo boxes are 4x4 in size, so present difficulties in inventory management. However, it is unlikey any Striker user will need to carry more than three boxes (45 shots, 9 reloads) in Rexo. You'll either be dead before they are all used, or near enough a base, tower or AMS during that time, to resupply. Often two boxes is enough, allowing room for secondary weapon ammo, and support items. (This holds true for Lancer and Phoenix users too.)
- Useful When Empty: Unlike the other AV weapons, the Striker remains useful even when exhausted. Any vehicle being locked by the Striker recieves a big red 'Missle Lock' warning indicator, with alarming noises. This is effective in scaring away Air Cavalry and Light Ground units in many cases, even if no rockets are launched.
- CE Clearance: The Striker will lock on and destroy Spitfire Turrets in one shot, and in Secondary (Dumbfire) mode can safely destory mines, boomers and motion sensors, in one shot each. The Striker is suitable for destroying Phalanx turrets from a safe range as well. Useful if EMP is unavailable.
- Other Gear: Striker users will need a backup weapon for Anti-Infantry work; the Medium Assault Category is ideal for this, in particular the Punisher (EMP), and the Sweeper. Engineering (BANK) will be useful to patch up splash damage and rocket spam, as the Striker tends to attract a lot of this. Combat Engineering compliments AV well, creating a well-rounded Anti Vehicle Specialist. Special Assault provides access to the EMP loaded Thumper, which can disrupt vehicle guns, prior to oppening fire with the Striker. At a pinch, handheld Jammer grenades can help, but require far more practice to land well. Enhanced Targeting is the single most useful implant for a dedicated Striker user, allowing progress to be measured and weaker vehicles to be picked off. Personal Shield can provide a few extra crucial seconds to get the last rockets in, and Surge can help the AV trooper to get to cover if it goes wrong. Reinforced Exo-Suit allows a much needed back-up rifle slot, and greater survivability outdoors.
- Don't Give Up!: AV weapons do not generally yield the same sheer quantity of kills and xp as HA, and you are basically getting in the way of tanks, on foot, so you will die lots. However the AV cert makes up for it in quality of kills, and getting that last rocket in on an enemy BFR can be an immensely satisfying experience. Regardless, AV does help your Empire, and the more people that carry it, the more powerful it becomes. And remember, even just driving the tank away to repair is still a victory, as that is time he is not spending farming your grunts.
Countering The Striker:
- Location: The key to dealing with the Striker, is know where it is. Head to head, from a standing start, in an open field, the Striker user will lose to just about everything but MAX units, and even that might be touch and go. The Striker relies on suprise, and the inital confusion before his position is revealed, to cause signficant damage. Once he is spotted, the fight turns against him very quickly, but by this point, sufficient damage may have been caused to make it academic. Approach the combat area slowly and only charge once a Striker position has been confirmed. Air Cavalry should always try to have a full tank of Afterburner ready, as this will allow the fragile Mosquito and Reaver to outrun Striker missiles to safety. Less disciplined Striker users will tend to fire at anything and everything as soon as it comes into range, and this can pinpoint them quickly to the patient and observant. Striker rockets in flight show as red dashes on the proximity map, giving further clues.
- Line of Sight: The Striker actually locks to a very small point in the centre of the vehicle. This means an object as narrow as a single tree can cause the lock to be lost. If under fire, with no immediate opportunity to kill the Striker user, head for trees, low hills, rocks, buildings, even other friendly vehicles, and get them between you and the Striker. Reaquisition of lock takes a second or so, so a vehicle going full-tilt through a forest becomes virtually impossible to track.
- Avoid Dense Troops: Around 20% of all TR troops have AV certified, so a fair assumption would be that every fifth TR grunt outdoors is carrying a Striker, and many others will be carrying some form of EMP. Charging into a dense pack of such troops is asking for trouble, especially by air, or in slow ground vehicles. Instead, work at the edges and hit and fade. Locate and pick off lone Striker users that stray from the herd too much; most vehicles stand a reasonable chance against a single Striker.
- Infiltrate: Striker users generally tend to focus on the sky and horizon, and so can be more vulnerable than most troops to cloaker attack via AMP, Boomer or Knife. Time the attack with their own, as the noise from the Striker will mask any noises your initial attack may make.
- Range: As noted above; vehicles are safe beyond 250m. Many vehicle guns are capable of longer ranges, particularly arcing projectiles, such as the Vanguard main gun. Use these to retaliate in saftey.
- Send In The Grunts: With the Striker occupying one rifle slot and a backpack full of very big boxes, even Rexo Striker users are already at a disadvantage against dedicated HA/SA infantry. Send squadmates or outfit members in to help distract and flush the Striker's position.
- Run MAX, Run: In most cases, the MAX is likely to lose against the Striker, given enough distance, and suprise. The best defence for the MAX is cover; if in run-mode, stay in run-mode. You aren't any more difficult to track, but may be able to make it to trees or cover faster. Walking MAX should try to return fire if within range, particularly AI MAX, but are likely to be killed first unless within 20-30m or so. NC MAX can use the shield to buy more time to reach cover, but in most cases for VS MAX, using the jumpjet is exactly the wrong thing to do. Stay on the ground, and seek cover, as you are much easier to hit in mid-air.
- Angle of Attack: Particularly useful for Air Cavalry, if the location of the Striker is known (above), the best way to elimiate him is by aproaching low from an unexpected direction, ideally over a ridgetop, away from the main battle area, and cutting them down from behind. The machine guns, used from range, work best as there is less tell-tale engine or rocket launch sounds to give the game away.