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Vendetta Online Beginner's Guide
August 26, 2005 | Mark Satterthwaite

Guild Software's Vendetta Online is a Massively Multiplayer Online Space Combat game. With gameplay as deep and involving as Ambrosia's highly regarded Escape Velocity series, we here at IMG felt it was necessary to provide potential and new players a crash course in the techniques needed to succeed in this dangerous universe. With that in mind, a single pilot was sent to explore each of Vendetta's three major nations, collating a guide containing pointers and techniques to aid the novice into this exciting game.

The galaxy is a hostile place for the novice pilot. Rogue bots, bounty hunters, and faction hatreds all conspire to steal the lives of the unwary or unprepared. Most of these "deaths" can be avoided with a little time and effort on the part of those pilots who are beginning their journey in Vendetta's spheres. To help you on your way, this crash course in basic techniques has been drafted. It is in your interest, pilot, to take the time to read, if not necessarily follow.

Getting Started
Arrogance will lead to a quick death. While life (and death) may be cheap at first, the longer and more successful a pilot becomes the more it will disturb (and buying back that really powerful fighter is going to cost credits!). So start with a lesson in humility and take the training course or tutorial offered by the local faction. For a few minutes of space-flight you will earn a handful of skill points and 500 credits to help begin your adventure. More importantly it will teach you basic familiarity with your ship's controls and give basic combat instruction. In a galaxy at war with itself this may help decide your fate more than any number of credits.

At this point, the eager and stupid would dash off into the "Buy" tab of the nearest station and begin a career as a trader, or try in vain to learn to mine in their beaten up EC-88 shuttle. Failure or death beckon them. Flight training should be taken more seriously than a mere few minutes, combat training even more so. Therefore it is my recommendation that your next mission be the the Beginner's Combat Practice.

Combat Flying
With the EC-88 being a free purchase this will be the last opportunity to allow yourself the opportunity to fail. All pilots should make use of this and head into the Combat practice with an eye to learn, rather than necessarily be victorious (though winning helps). First, the bots to be targeted should be Kannik or Orun: they may not give the highest reward, but they are weak and poor marksmen. It gives the novice the edge in a fight, even if you are not accustomed to unassisted flight in zero-gravity, zero-resistance environments.

So for those of you still reading, TURN OFF flight assistance. The extra maneuverability and control allows for strafing, loops, rolls, and other combat maneuvers that are inhibited by the computerized systems. These are important skills: remember this is space, where even the slightest force will keep accelerating a body (read: your ship), and as long as no other force is applied, the achieved velocity will be constant (alright, Guild Software fiddled it with the Afterburners). This means it is possible to fire upon the enemy while flying backwards, or equally while looping over his/her head. It also means that a reliance on missiles, which are best fired from a straight course (not always a frontal assault mind) is not likely to be a successful policy. Combat here has more in common with the shooting games commonly played by teens (read: First Person Shooters!): only the fastest of mind and deed will survive a fight.

Combat fundamentals are therefore to keep moving, with your weapons trained on the enemy as much as possible. At range a straighter, steadier course is better to intercept the target, but also to fire missiles, flares, or other long range munitions. Hard maneuvering from the firing platform is as likely to reduce their efficacy as the target's evasive pattern. Try to avoid the frontal assault though, unless the glare of the sun will hide you or there's a nice, big asteroid to pop out from behind. Use the objects in space to make your approach more difficult to identify, and sneak up on your enemies. Then close in hard strafing and looping; changing direction frequently can help avoid taking fire, but remember your guns have to find their target too. Each fight will be different, so learn to adapt and think on your feet, and don't adopt a distinguishable pattern. A hard lesson I know, but vital in "real" combat. In these early stages guns will be more important than missiles, as you won't have any, so think of it as an opportunity to become comfortable with them. If you practice enough you may find that being able to hang out on someone's tail and riddle their aft with holes is more effective than any number of missiles.

After 20 kills there is a change in target, and your focus must fall on the tougher and more dangerous DenTek and Artemis bots. First hint: find a sector where there is only one type of bot and endeavor to take each individually. A swarm is far more deadly than a lone bot, and in mixed sectors it is all too easy to attract the fatal attention of an ApuTech-5 Guardian. Persevere with this mission until you have achieved a level 1 license in Combat Flight and Light Weapons. No claims of combat mastery, though; undoubtedly your craft will still be the EC-88, and combat in the later fighters or assault craft is subtly different, but at least you should have achieved basic competency.


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